Daily Vet Life: Equine Joint Therapies

hind limb horse joint lameness exam
There are many more equine joint therapies to address issues in horses than there were 10 years ago.

Veterinarians are faced with many more options of equine joint therapies today than they had 10 years ago.

Gustavo Zanotto, DVM, MS, PhD, spoke at the 2021 AAEP Convention on Current Joint Therapy Usage in Equine Practice: Changes in the Last 10 Years. Zanotto is boarded by the American College of veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Currently, he is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University.

Zanotto said that Dr. David Frisbie and colleagues of Colorado State University surveyed what joint therapies veterinarians were using in the field about 10 years ago. Frisbie and colleagues repeated the survey and compared the current results to 10 years ago.

The researchers also wanted to know how new equine joint therapies that have been added to field practice were being used now compared to the first study.

Survey Comparisons

The uses of different corticosteroids as an equine joint therapy in high-motion and low-motion joints has changed in the field based on the science we now have, said Zanotto.

Biological therapies are more popular now than they were 10 years ago. IRAP is still the most popular biologic therapy.

He said veterinarians today feel that biological therapies give a longer effect compared to conventional therapies used in horses.

“If you look at human data, there is more evidence for a long-term effect [in joints] than corticosteroids or conventional injections,” said Zanotto.

He said clinicians are using more antibiotics with equine joint therapy injections than was reported 10 years ago. Zanotto said that is a little bit contradictory to scientific evidence in that corticosteroid injections don’t increase the amount of joint infections.

“We have some evidence that some antibiotics might be chondrotoxic to the joint,” said Zanotto. “So that field use conflicts with the scientific evidence we have today.”

Comparing Therapies

Zanotto talked about his research into equine joint joint therapies. He said the industry needs to figure out if the new biologic therapies work better than what we have now.

“We struggle to see how one therapy compares with another,” he said. “We need to develop good clinical trials to see what therapy works in which situation.”

About Dr. Gustavo Zanotto

Gustavo Zanotto, DVM, MS, PhD, who is boarded by the American College of veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Currently, he is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. Dr. Zanotto’s research interests are musculoskeletal diagnosis, therapies and rehabilitation.

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