Arthritis Breakthrough Could Prolong Racing Life

By: Ryan Clark
June 30th, 2011

The racing life of horses in Australia could be significantly extended with a new breakthrough being heralded by the university of Sydney.

Researchers are claiming a discovery in the treatment of osteoarthritis, a debilitating condition that affects both horses and humans alike.

University of Sydney surgery resident Dr Toby Koenig from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, says said they have found a combination of well known and already used drugs which controlled and slowed the rate of damage to the joints of racehorses.

“Osteoarthritis is a major cause of wastage in athletic horses, with a significant economic impact on the equine industry,” Dr Koenig said.

“We found a new combination of three commonly used drugs – pentosan polysulphate, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid – could reduce the damage experienced during strenuous exercise.

“Until now the focus has been on minimising pain for horses suffering from osteoarthritis. We think this new drug combination could have significant impact on the way horses are treated, potentially extending careers of horses in racing, dressage and other competitive events.”

While any mass treatment is still a while off yet, Dr Koenig will present his findings to a Gold Coast based conference this Friday where the results will be highlighted from 16 trialled horses which had simulated race training.

It was a combined scientific effort with leading equine researchers from Australia also teaming up with their counterparts in the United States.

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