I’ve got a 32 year old mare, who had serious arthritis from the time I first got her at 26 years old. (she is a rescue) My vet had me try bute to begin with and that helped, but like you…I knew that should not be used long term.
So I first tried Recovery EQ Extra Strenght, and after about a month, she was moving even better on it, than she had been on the bute. I used that for about a year. She would eat it, but I can’t say she was happy about the taste…but she’ll eat just about anything. Then I had issues with another younger mare (who is an extremely picker eater) and she did not like the taste of Recovery EQ at all.
I ended up switching both mares to Cosequin. Cosequin worked just as well as the Recovery EQ, but even my extremely picky eater would eat it. (of course I introduce new foods…very slowly…even supplements)
Over the years looking at other joint supplements …I decided to try Advanced Cetyl M® Joint Action Formula for Horses instead of Cosequin, for two reasons, 1) I saw that Cliff Anderson was singing it’s praises so highly and 2) I read a research paper about Cetyl M’s effects on arthritis in mice. When I switched it also worked just as well, I loved the smell of it, and my horses loved eating it.
At one point, I think about 2 years ago, I stopped using all joint supplements…(they are expensive, and of course there is always the concern about side effects, and of course you want to be sure to stay with big brand names with good reputations as with all supplements … because they are not regulated like FOOD).
ANYWAYS…It took about 6 months for my mare with serious arthritis issues to start slowing down and showing that she was starting to hurt again. So I put her back on and she was fixed again in less than a month (of course I had to start her back with the initial double dose for two weeks).
I’m currently still using a maintenance level of Advanced Cetyl M Joint Action Formula on 3 of my horses (all seniors which joint issues of varies natures). The one with extremely serious arthritis is still doing great on it. My vet keeps reminding me there is no cure for old age.
For this particular mare, she has response very well and quickly to all 3 of the joint supplements I have used. They have worked better than just bute. (and bute is great when needed short term, but should not be used long term). Your horse might response differently…but the 3 different types of joint supplements I have used over the years at different times…have sure seems to work for my mare….and when she is uncomfortable, it SHOWS big time. She is the type that prefers not to move much anyways, right now she will sometimes come trotting at me happily from across the field wanting to get a belly rub from me (when she used to have a hard time just walking a few steps towards me), I’m glad she is able to do that now and I will keep her on what works for her as long as I believe it to be safe and working for her.
I also keep my supplements indoors (air conditioning and away from sunlight) due to the extreme heat in Florida.