Two of the injectable joint medications available for horses are Polyglycan and Adequan. Adequan is available as a systemic muscular injection, called Adequan i.m., or an injection directly into the horse's joint, called Adequan i.a. Polyglycan was initially designed to be used as a post-surgery lavage, although it is available by prescription as an injection.
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Adequan i.m. and i.a. composed of water and polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, with sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid added to correct the mixture's pH. The polysulfated glycosaminoglycan is the joint medication in Adequan i.m. and i.a.
In Polyglycan, the joint medications are hyaluronic acid sodium salt, sodium chondroitin sulphate and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. These are all commonly used ingredients for joint supplements or medications in oral or injectable products (except for polysulfated glycosaminglycan, which is only available as an injection).
Polyglycan, Adequan i.m. and Adequan i.a. can only be used with a prescription from a veterinarian. Polyglycan was designed to be used directly after surgery on a horse's joint, while Adequan i.m. is meant to be given as a preventive or treatment of degenerative joint disease. Adequan i.a. is a joint injection given in the hocks and knees.
Adequan i.a. has given rise to reports of inflammatory reactions and rare reports of joint sepsis, and it can cause soreness if given in too large a dose. Reactions have not been reported with Adequan i.m. or Polyglycan.
When Not To Use
Neither Polyglycan, Adequan i.m. or Adequan i.a. can be used in horses that are going to be slaughtered for human consumption, and the safety of Adequan i.m. or Adequan i.a. has not been determined in broodmares or breeding stallions.
Polyglycan can be purchased in cartons of either six 2.5-millilitre or six 10-milliliter vials. Adequan i.m. is available as seven 5-milliliter vials. Adequan i.a. is purchased in six 1-milliliter vials. Polyglycan is considerably cheaper than Adequan, as seen on the Allivet.com website.
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