On the last program of Texas Vet News I talked about the large number of oral joint health supplements that are on the market for horses. Even though these products are widely used, many of them are of questionable quality because there are no regulations governing them. Because of this problem, Dr. Stacey Oke has developed a system for horse owners to help them choose a product that may be of better quality than some others. First of all, choose a product from a company that has been in the animal health pharmaceutical business for years instead of months. It is likely that companies with a good reputation are not going to stake their reputation on manufacturing a poor quality product for short-term sales. Also, look for products that are backed by clinical research published in peer-reviewed veterinary journals. Many companies report they have clinical trials but don’t have information available; even if they do have information, clinical trials that are not published in peer-reviewed journals are worthless.
It is also important to look at the label and make sure all of the ingredients in the product are listed, including active, inactive, and filler ingredients. Manufacturers that do not list all ingredients of their products likely use fillers and may not contain the labelled ingredients. Products that make claims that seem too good to be true are probably not as good as they claim. Dosing instructions should be accurate and clear, and the amount of ingredient per scoop should be printed clearly on the label. Also, look for products with clear contact information and check to see if the company you choose has veterinarians on staff to answer your questions.