1Equine Health Studies Program, 2Laboratory of Comparative Orthopedic Research, Dept. of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. 3W.F. Young Inc., East Longmeadow, MA. December, 2017.
Osteoarthritis is common in horses causing pain and loss of use. With the current emphasis on “Clean Sport” natural supplements are being used to decrease pain and increase joint mobility during competition. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the oral herbal supplement, Absorbine® Bute-Less® Performance, containing Curcumin Extract (Longvida® SD Optimized Curcumin) on lameness and joint pain in horses with naturally occurring front limb osteoarthritis. In addition, gastroscopy was performed to determine its effects on stomach health.
A prospective two-period crossover study was performed at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine evaluating 6 Thoroughbred horses with naturally occurring osteoarthritis. Horses were fed the supplement Absorbine® Bute-Less® Performance containing essential vitamins, herbs and extracts, including Curcumin Extract, a plant extract. Prior to entering the study, horses from the resident Equine Health Studies Program herd were evaluated for lameness (grade 2 to 4, AAEP Scale) in one front limb and had radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis in either the carpus, fetlock or pastern joint, which was localized by palpation, flexion testing and/or a joint anesthesia. The Absorbine® Bute-Less Performance supplement pellets (Longvida® SD Optimized Curcumin; 2 ounces [1.060 gm active ingredient]) were top-dressed on grain (2.0 Kg; Omelene® 100, Purina Animal Health, Gray Summit, MO.) or control horses received grain alone fed daily for 30 days. Lameness data including, lameness examination (AAEP Lameness Scale 1-5), range of motion, pain on palpation, and force platform data were collected by a masked (to treatment) observers, prior to the beginning of each period (pre-supplementation), on Day 15, and on Day 30 of the study. In addition, blood samples will be obtained from the horses on days 1 and 14, before and after treatment to determine curcumin blood concentrations for pharmacologic measurements. In addition, gastroscopy was performed on Day 0 and then again on Day 31 and gastric ulcer scores were recorded using the Equine Gastric Ulcer Scoring System (Andrews et al. 1999).
Absorbine® Bute-Less® Performance supplement containing curcumin top-dressed on feed was safe and no adverse responses were noted in the treated horse. Subjective lameness examination performed by a board certified surgeon showed no treatment effect in the horses. However, pain response upon palpation was significantly lower in the curcumin treated horses compared to control horses (Figure 1). Peak vertical force as measured by the force platform was significantly higher in the lame leg in horses treated with the curcumin compared to controls after 30 days of feeding (Figure 2), which resulted in a significantly higher difference in lameness in the curcumin treated horses.
On gastroscopy examination, gastric ulcer scores were significantly lower in both the treated and control horse after 30 days of treatment when compared to horses on Day 0, prior to treatment (Figure 3).
Absorbine® Bute-Less® Performance containing curcumin (Longvida®) fed to horses reduced pain and improved lameness due to osteoarthritis after 30 days of feeding, while maintaining stomach health.
Andrews FM, Sifferman R, Bernard W, et al. Efficacy of omeprazole paste in the treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers in horses. Equine Veterinary Journal (Suppl.) 29:81-86, 1999.
The authors would like to thank the LSU SVM’s summer scholar program, as well as student workers and lab assistants that assisted with this project. December 2017.
Longvida® is a registered trademark of Verdure Sciences Inc. Omelene® is a registered trademark of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC