An article published by Kentucky Equine Research highlights the results of some interesting studies on the effects of omega-3 on osteoarthritis. Arthritis can be a career ending issue for performance horses, and typically is treated using anti-inflammatory drugs, such as phenylbutazone (bute) and corticosteroids – both of which are associated with negative side effects from prolonged usage.
Two studies were conducted, one on dogs and a second on horses, to examine how omega-3 supplementation effects animals being treated for arthritis. In the study on dogs, 109 canines with confirmed osteoarthritis received omega-3 supplementation in conjunction with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) – carprofen. Results showed that the required dose of carprofen necessary to ease the pain significantly decreased in dogs receiving omega-3, and faster recoveries were also observed.
The second study was conducted on a group of 16 arthritic horses. The subjects were given omega-3 supplementation without the additional use of any NSAIDs or other drugs. As in the canine study, results indicated less swelling in the affected joints.
Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful for the treatment of arthritis and lameness because when properly balances with omega-6, they produce prostiglandis – one of they common reducers of inflammation. Chia seeds are one of the highest natural sources of omega-3; and equally as important, they are composed of the optimal ratios of omega-3 to omega-6. Using chia seeds to treat horses with arthritis and lameness can allow for a natural recovery without the adverse effects of NSAIDs or bute. Additionally, chia seeds are permitted under the USEF as a therapeutic substance, making them ideal for treating performance horses.