Oral and Intramuscular Use of Chondroitin Sulfate in Equine Arthritis | Equine Clinical Research

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science,
September 1998 (Vol. 18, No. 9).
This abstract is approved by the publisher.


Videla Dorna I. DVM and R.C. Guerrero DVM


15 clinically healthy mares between 5 and 10 years old were divided at random into three groups of five animals each. The left carpus joint zone of all animals was

depilated and then sanitized and antisepticized. Aseptic arthritis was induced by removal of 2 ml of synovial fluid from the joint and inoculation 0.5 ml of Adjuvant Complete of Freund (ACF). Group 1 (n=5) was given 5 ml chondroitin sulfate via intramuscular injection daily every five days. Group 2 (n=5) was fed 10 ml chondroitin sulfate daily via oral solution. Group 3 (n=5) was given no treatment (control group). Treatments were applied from Day 0 up to day 30 after injury induction. Evaluation was conducted on the basis of articular circumference at the accessory carpal bone level, strained flexion between the foot coronary band and the olecranon bone, assessment at the trot immediately after a minute-long strained flexion of the affected joint, analysis of the synovial fluid, radiography of the left carpus joint on day 0 and day 30 of the trial, clinical examination of body temperature, heartbeat and breathing frequency every 48 hours, and blood sampling and subsequent construction of proteinograms and hepatograms.

CS oral administration yielded satisfactory results in all evaluated parameters. Up to day 9 significant differences (p<0.05) with animals treated via injectable were observed (articular circumference). The improvements in this parameter were satisfactory and much better than that of the control animals. From day 16 on, there was no significant difference for this parameter among the two treatment groups. Response to strained flexion and lameness degree showed a significant improvement from day 16, with practically total remission of injury signs at day 30. There were no significant differences in the treated groups regarding the content of proteins in the synovial fluid but such differences did exist between treated and untreated animals (p<0.05).

Results of this study lead us to believe that oral CS product is bioavailable for horses, and provide evidence of the therapeutic value of CS in induced articular pathology, irrespective of the route of administration. Although differences are observed in the product behavior when administered by different routes, both proved to be effective and led to normalized articular condition after 30 days of treatment.