Adequan and Legend, Apples and Oranges

Adequan or Legend, which is better? I get this question all the time. Even though both products have been around forever, rumors of their merit continue  – including a misconception that one is just a cheaper version of the other. Let’s explore the differences, so you can decide if your horse is a candidate for either formulation, or both.

While both products are great options for treatment of moderate to severe arthritis, Adequan and Legend are completely different formulations, with entirely different applications. So much, in fact, that I sometimes use both products at the same time on the same horse. Even though both pharmaceuticals are effective for the management of arthritis, I cannot say which is better – it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

Adequan is polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, a substance that stimulates cartilage to repair itself. It can be administered intramuscularily (Adequan IM) or intra-articular (Adequan IA). Adequan IM treatment consists of a series of intramuscular injections every four days for a month, while Adequan IA treatment consists of a series of five weekly intra-articular injections. It may take as long as two months to see results.

Legend is hyaluronic sodium, a substance naturally found in synovial fluid. It comes available in intravenous (Legend IV) or intra-articular (Legend IA) formulations. Either route consists of three consecutive weekly treatments. Legend works quickly to reduce inflammation within the joint capsule, with improvement as early as two days.

The manufacturers of Adequan and Legend agree that intra-articular injection of their products is most effective, but it does pose greater risk of complications. However, intramuscular or intravenous administration sometimes offers better overall results because it acts systemically and can alleviate joint abnormalities throughout the body. There are pros and cons to both products: Adequan acts more slowly, but it has a more profound effect on joint repair; meanwhile Legend acts more quickly to improve lubrication and reduce pain, but it works for a shorter period.

These Adequan and Legend treatment protocols can be repeated at regular intervals, or the two products can be combined for optimal results. There are no metabolic or behavior changes associated with either product, and both are permitted in competition.

Click, Tick, Tock

Another year has come and gone. I guess the old saying is true:  time flies when you’re having fun. And that other thing about the older we get, the quicker it goes – Mom was right, but that’s another story…

As for me, 2012 brought lots of changes, both personal and professional. After nearly 15 years of day-to-day practice, I now focus on writing, teaching, and product development.

And, what a year in the horse world – from changes in slaughter laws to controversy surrounding show regulations. And, of course, record drought throughout much of the country.

I look forward to discussing these topics, and much more. But, since cold weather is upon us, I want to address a common question:

What causes a horse’s joint to ‘click’?

Joints are enclosed in a capsule, and bathed in a slippery liquid called synovial fluid. This substance, along with articular cartilage, allows a joint to move with ease. Without adequate lubrication, joints become rough – a product of age, wear, or conformation. If not addressed, articular cartilage begins to erode, followed by inflammation of underlying bone surfaces and, ultimately, arthritis.

Once you hear noise coming from a joint, avoid taking the wait-and-see approach – pain and lameness may be close behind. When it comes to joint degeneration, it’s easier to prevent a process, or slow it down, than to correct it once established.

Joint supplements provide the body with natural components that have been lost with time and use, and are a good option to prevent dryness or replace viscosity in the early stages of degenerative joint disease.

Look for a product that contains at least MSM and vitamin C (ascorbic acid); added glucosamine is a plus, but something with hyaluronate is superior. And, since nutraceuticals are not closely regulated, purchase a reputable brand to ensure quality and consistency. Most products recommend an initial loading dose, followed by a maintenance dose. It may take a month or more to see results, but most supplements become more effective over time.

Happy New Year !