Alternatives for Managing Osteoarthritis in Horses: PAAG and Stanolozol

Polyacrylamide hydrogel (PAAG) and stanolozol might offer veterinarians and owners new alternative treatment options to help reduce pain, improve joint function, and minimize joint tissue deterioration in horses with arthritis.
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Alternatives for Managing Osteoarthritis in Horses
Polyacrylamide hydrogel (PAAG) and stanolozol might offer veterinarians and owners new alternative treatment options to help reduce pain, improve joint function, and minimize joint tissue deterioration in horses with arthritis. | Photo: iStock

When it comes to caring for horses with osteoarthritis (OA), management strategies focus on reducing pain, improving joint function, and minimizing deterioration of joint tissues. A variety of therapies exist, including intra-articular (IA, in the joint) medications such as corticosteroids, hyaluronans, and pentosan polysulfates, along with biological agents—stems cells and platelet-rich plasma, for instance.

The most common first line of defense against OA, however, is IA corticosteroids, said Niklas Drumm, DrMedVet, Dipl. ACVS-LA, ECVS, a shareholder and practitioner at Tierklinik Lusche, in Germany. But two relatively new therapies—polyacrylamide hydrogel (PAAG) and stanolozol—might offer alternatives for managing osteoarthritis in horses. He described these during the 2018 British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Sept. 12-15, in Birmingham, U.K.

Polyacrylamide Hydrogel

Polyacrylamide hydrogel is a nondegradable synthetic watery gel that integrates safely with soft tissues, said Drumm. It’s been used in human medicine for more than 15 years; doctors primarily use it to treat stress incontinence in women and to reinforce facial tissues

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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