Diseased Joints

Components of the diseased joint cycle1

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) starts with an inflamed joint, which results in mild pain, swelling, and disruption to the balanced 'wear and repair' cycle.

Inflamed synovial membrane allows unwanted cells to pass into the synovial (joint) fluid. These cells release destructive enzymes break down the lubricant and barrier function.

Destructive enzymes attack the synovial fluid and cartilage causing damage.

Eroded articular cartilage
Healthy cartilage is critical to the performance of the joint. Eroded cartilage loses its ability to evenly distribute the forces of movement into the subchondral bone, allowing injury to occur. It contains no sensory nerves or blood vessels, so it has a limited ability to repair itself.

Damaged subchondral bone
Subchondral bone does contain sensory nerves and blood vessels. When damage occurs, it can be an additional source of joint pain.

Adequan Equine horse healthy joint graphic solo
How To Use Graph How To Use Graph

Signs of degenerative joint disease.2

Swelling due to excess joint fluid

Lameness which can preclude comfort and athleticism

Decreased range of motion

Stiffness when emerging from the stall or starting work

Deformation caused by bony changes

Crepitus—the popping, grinding, and crackling sound and sensation in an affected joint.


Start treatment early.

The onset and progression of degenerative joint disease results in the loss of cartilage components, so early intervention is important. Once a diagnosis is made, develop a treatment plan focused on inhibiting the destructive processes of DJD in the beginning stages - before mobility is compromised. Adequan® i.m. is proven to work in multiple ways to maintain joint function.3,4

dr horse and treatment 3 imgs

The diseased joint cycle for dogs

INDICATIONS Adequan® i.m. (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is recommended for the intramuscular treatment of non-infectious degenerative and/or traumatic joint dysfunction and associated lameness of the carpal and hock joints in horses.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION There are no known contraindications to the use of intramuscular Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan. Studies have not been conducted to establish safety in breeding horses. WARNING: Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. Not for use in humans. Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children. CAUTION: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. For full prescribing information, click here.
1. McIlwraith CW, Frisbie DD, Kawcak CE, van Weeren PR. Joint Disease in the Horse. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier, 2016; 33-48.
2. McIlwraith CW, Frisbie DD, Kawcak CE. The horse as a model of naturally occurring osteoarthritis. Bone Joint Res. 2012; 1(11): 297-309.
3. Burba DJ, Collier MA, Default LE, Hanson-Painton O, Thompson HC, Holder CL: In vivo kinetic study on uptake and distribution of intramuscular tritium-labeled polysulfated glycosaminoglycan in equine body fluid compartments and articular cartilage in an osteochondral defect model. The Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 1993; 696-703.
4. Adequan® i.m. Package Insert, Rev 1/19.

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