June 13, 2023

The "Non-Steriod" Future of Arthritis Treatment

Up to 60% of lameness in horses is attributed to Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the cartilage, synovial membrane, and other structures in the joint, leading to inflammation, pain, and reduced joint function.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in horses may include lameness, stiffness, reduced joint mobility, and swelling or heat around the affected joint. Horses with osteoarthritis may also show behavioral changes, such as reluctance to move or perform certain tasks, decreased appetite, and decreased energy.


So, what happens if arthritic changes start occurring in your horse?  

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is not curable, so historically the key is management. A successful management and prevention program can slow down or halt the ongoing damage, but early detection and prompt treatment is vital. Procedures such as icing and bandaging, anti-inflammatory drugs, phenylbutazone and surpass for example, anti-arthritic medications such as Legend and Adequan and joint injections of hyaluronic acid, often combined with a corticocosteroid are effective treatments for managing osteoarthritis. Other techniques such as IRAP have been developed which involves collecting and using the horses’s own natural antibodies as a joint injection. The goal of all joint therapies is:

  • To reduce / eliminate pain
  • To return the joint to normal
  • To minimize the progression of joint deterioration & Osteoarthritis

While all these options are effective, they tend to be short-term solutions.

Introducing Arthramid® Vet, The "Non-Steroid" Future of Arthritis Treatment

This is what makes Arthramid® Vet so exciting in the future of arthritis treatment. Arthramid® Vet is a revolutionary injectable treatment that provides long-lasting relief for joint disease, including osteoarthritis. This innovative treatment is made from a biocompatible polyacrylamide gel that is injected directly into the affected joint.

Once injected, Arthramid® Vet works by stabilizing and protecting the damaged joint tissue, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing. This results in improved joint function and reduced pain for your horse. Used in Europe for 10 years, but only recently introduced to the US, Countryside is excited to offer Arthramid® Vet.

As the cartilage or cushion between the joints breaks down, pain, stiffness, and swelling develop, causing lameness. We now know Osteoarthritis begins with Synovitis, a condition in which the synovial membrane, which lines and lubricates the joints, becomes inflamed. The synovial membrane is a thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of joints, tendons, and bursae. It produces synovial fluid, which acts as a shock absorber, lubricant, and nutrient source for the joint. It is made up of water, hyaluronic acid, and other molecules that help give it its elastic and viscous properties. In horses with OA, the composition of the synovial fluid changes, with lower levels of hyaluronic acid and other molecules that contribute to its viscosity and elasticity. The lower viscosity can lead to less effective lubrication of the joint, increasing friction and wear on the joint surfaces, and contributing to pain and inflammation. The lower elasticity can also contribute to joint stiffness and decreased range of motion.

Starting a treatment like this in any stage of arthritis, especially the early stages, is a game changer." Dan Carter

"Studies have shown Arthramid® Vet integrates into the synovial membrane, stabilizing the joint capsule, and increasing elasticity, which, in turn, reduces the onset of synovitis and its harmful effects. The formation of rejuvenated synovium improves the nature of the synovial fluid within the joint itself. Additionally, Arthramid® Vet basically creates a ‘cushion-like’ effect of the joint and increases glide preserving and/ or even regeneration of the joint cartilage. The result not only reduces pain, but ultimately improves the joint’s overall ability to flex, bear weight, and transfer weight loads", explains Anthramid Vet, Dr. Jason Lowe.

In clinical studies, more than 80% of horses injected with Arthramid®Vet achieve "lameness free status", including cases non-responsive to conventional treatments - with results lasting up to two years.

Arthramid® Vet works in even the most frustrating of cases by restoring function and movement to the joint by acting as a “bio-scaffold” that bonds with the injured tissue and strengthens the joint.

Arthramid® Vet is a safe and effective alternative to traditional joint therapies, such as corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid. It minimally invasive and administered in a single procedure. No steroids are used in this biotechnology product.

Horse showing treatment areas for Arthramid Vet

Who and What Can Benefit from Arthramid®Vet?

No matter your horse’s discipline or breed, the joints are subject to stresses and injury and it is impossible to prevent joint stress. Cases suitable for treatment with Arthramid® Vet are those in which lameness is localized to the joint by clinical examination and intra-articular analgesia,+/- radiography, ultrasound, MRI, CT and/or Scintigraphy.

If your horse has acute or chronic synovitis, capsulitis, meniscal tears, osteoarthritis or subchondral bone cysts, it is likely that Arthramid® Vet can be of benefit. Fetlock, Hock, Stifle, Knee, Coffin, Cervical and Shoulder have all shown positive results from Arthramid® Vet.

Ask Your Vet about Arthramid® Vet

As with any medical treatment, proper diagnosis of arthritis should be done by your veterinarian via diagnostics, such as xray and ultrasound to determine if Arthramid® Vet is the right option for your horse's specific condition. Arthramid® Vet is a veterinarian-only product, ask your vet if it is right for your horse.

About Contura Vet

Contura Vet brings together the combined experience of bioengineering and veterinary expertise in the development of products for the treatment of osteoarthritis in horses and dogs. Their hydrogel product, Arthramid®Vet is the only polyacrylamide product on the US market labeled for all stages of osteoarthritis in horses, from early synovitis to end stage disease. It is also the only polyacrylamide product on the US market made in an FDA-approved GMP manufacturing facility. Equestrians and veterinarians trust the hydrogels made by Contura Vet. Their parent company Contura has been producing them for human-use in arthritic patients for 20 years.

Additional Resource:

A Double-Blinded Positive Control Study Comparing the Relative Efficacy of 2.5% Polyacrylamide Hydrogel (PAAG) Against Triamcinolone Acetonide (TA) And Sodium Hyaluronate (HA) in the Management of Middle Carpal Joint Lameness in Racing Thoroughbreds