It seems everyone who has a performance horse is using some kind of drug for joint support or arthritis whether the horse needs it or not. In many cases, people are wasting lots of money using these products because everyone else at the barn is using it or another competitor won a barrel race and used a certain drug. Many horses with arthritis may benefit from these drugs but many folks are just wasting money.
Today on Texas Vet News I want to talk about the difference between a medical device and a drug related to treating arthritis. There are many injectable drugs approved for treatment of arthritis such as Legend or Adequan. There are also a lot of other substances being injected into horses and I call them substances because they are not drugs. There are a group of compounds including polyglycan, Chondroprotec, and MAP-5 that are approved as medical devices to be used for various conditions in veterinary medicine from surgery to reproduction and they have some of the same ingredients as Legend and Adequan. Many horse people want to use these substances in their horses because they are less expensive than drugs. However, they have not been tested for use in horses for injection in the vein, muscle, or joint.
Also, they are not approved for use in this manner and if your horse has a reaction, the company will not stand behind the product because it is being used incorrectly. Lastly, your vet may not want to use these products in your horse because besides the fact that the product may not work, if a problem develops, the veterinarian's malpractice insurance will likely not cover the veterinarian because the product was not used correctly. So before you decide to ask your veterinarian to order these medical devices, consider these facts.