Click, Tick, Tock

beau mistAnother 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 !