Adequan is the initial drug of choice whenever either a preventative or treatment plan for degenerative joint disease (arthritis) is needed. Adequan is a naturally occurring complex molecule called polysulfated glycosaminoglycan. This is the essential building block of cartilage matrix. In order to have a healthy joint, normal cartilage is essential!
In several studies Adequan has been shown to go to joints once injected and actually be incorporated into production of new cartilage. This is in contrast to the neutraceuticals (oral supplements) containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Numerous oral supplements have tried to cash in on Adequan's success. Unfortunately, they do not compare.
(This statement now FACT, no longer just my opinion!)
To date, there has been no study which demonstrates effective absorption of these products from the equine gut. Similarly, if these products are absorbed and if the horse uses them appropriately, they must be combined into a very complex, large molecule in order to be effective. You guessed it, polysulfated glycosaminoglycan! Note that neutraceuticals do not undergo the same stringent FDA approval process. Therefore, their marketing and claims can be somewhat exaggerated without significant documentation to back them up.
If you want the best product for your horse, I recommend injecting with Adequan. In this manner you know you are getting the final product (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) into your horse in a safe and documented effective manner.
A few important points should be remembered with Adequan to use it effectively. First, the dose of Adequan you give today helps you best eight weeks from now. This is because Adequan works to heal damaged cartilage. The process of healing damaged cartilage takes time, at least eight weeks for a significant defect. Once the cartilage is repaired to the best of its potential all of the benefits of this cartilage render the joint a much more healthy environment for athletic wear and tear. Although there is some anti-inflammatory effect right away from an Adequan injection, this is very minor and not reliable for keeping horses sound in competition. For that purpose, see Legend (described elsewhere). Therefore, use Adequan for the long term success of your horse, think ahead!
Second, the initial loading dose of Adequan is one dose weekly (or every 4 days if desired) for 8 weeks straight. After that time, dose with the maximum amount affordable/desired for the remainder of your horses career. Giving one dose every 2 to 4 weeks is very effective for most at this point. However, strategic planning of your Adequan can be helpful. For example, dosing weekly for two months prior to beginning the show season can be very helpful at maintaining reliable soundness during the season. At the same time, no significant amount needs to be given during a several month turn out period after the season unless a specific problem is being treated.
Third, planning a specific Adequan schedule for your horse should be an annual event with your veterinarian in order to maximize the drugs potential to benefit your competition goals (see Training & Your Goals section for more details).
For more information about Adequan. Go to their website.
Legend is Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is the major component of normal joint fluid. When it is placed within a specific joint it acts as a lubricant and a mild anti-inflammatory for that joint only. When it is given in a vein, it goes to all the joint capsules in the body. However, it does NOT go into any of the joints themselves, but merely attaches to anti-inflammatory receptors on the blood vessel side of the joint capsule. Here it is an even stronger anti-inflammatory than when placed within a joint! As it does not enter the joints, there is no lubrication effect when given intravenously(IV). Remember too, it is only an anti-inflammatory for joint related issues. It will not work for tendon, ligament or muscle problems like bute or banamine might.
The duration of its anti-inflammatory effect when given IV is anywhere from 2 to 7 days maximum. Because it works well for these short periods and is a naturally occurring substance I consider it: The bute for JOINTS that does NOT test. In other words, it can be used during major USA Equestrian or FEI sanctioned competitions without fear of having a positive drug test. As it is also quite natural there is essentially no limitation on the amount that can be administered. Therefore, I give it up to every 48 hours during competitions, if necessary. I start the first dose 48 hours prior to competition in order to give it time to work.
Thus, if you are showing on Saturday, give it intravenously on Thursday. If necessary, give it again on Saturday then Monday and so on. The only down side is the cost. It can get expensive!
This is why long term planning to make sure your joints are in the best possible shape with proper ADEQUAN administration is so important. Legend and/or focused joint injections are more of a band aid type of treatment. However, with proper Adequan usage, these shorter term fixes will be less necessary, last longer and more importantly be more reliable at resolving the problem!
Remember, Legend will last only 2 to 7 days, then it is gone. There is NO long term benefit from Legend, unlike Adequan. Consider the two drugs like the Peace Corps Motto: Don't feed a country, teach a country to feed itself. If you use Legend(HA), you've bought your joints a great dinner, use Adequan and let the joint make its own HA all the time!