All About Adequan Dosing

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Our 22 yr old QH mare has been on Adequan for more than one year. She had the proper loading dose and has had a dose each month since then, with her last dose in July, 2013. Since she did not have a dose in August, will we have to do the loading dose again when the drug is available? Thank you. LS, Michigan

Dear LS,

Good news! Those seven injections that were given every four days? That wasn’t a “loading dose,” that was actually the correct way to administer Adequan. It turns out there IS no official “maintenance dose” from the company such as the once-a-month injections that are commonly given. The only regimen that has been proven to reverse the effects of degenerative joint disease (DJD or osteoarthritis) in horses and that is approved by the FDA is a 500mg intramuscular injection of Adequan once every four days for seven treatments. Once-a-month dosing will offer relief for a four day period but is unable to reestablish the cartilage that has degraded from training, conformation, or age-related changes.

According to Luitpold, the manufacturer, a more effective schedule both in terms of cost and benefit to the joints would be a seven-dose series once or twice a year to address on-going DJD. So until your veterinarian evaluates your mare and together you determine that it’s time to give her the seven-dose series again, absolutely no harm has been done by not being able to give her one injection of Adequan each month!

Of course, the absolute best regimen would be a combination of the seven-dose Adequan series once or twice a year and daily administration of an oral joint supplement. This combined approach would ensure she was starting with the healthiest joints possible and keeping them that way with consistent, optimum levels of key active ingredients.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

Posted in Ask the Vet

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5 comments on “All About Adequan Dosing
  1. Melissa says:

    Does this apply to pentosan as well?

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, pentosan polysulfate is not approved for use in the U.S. for equine arthritis. This means neither the manufacturing process nor safety and efficacy studies have been reviewed by the FDA. For dosage, dosage intervals, and other questions about this product, your veterinarian is your best source of information. – Dr. Lydia Gray

  2. 22 years old seems pretty old for a horse. You must take really good care of it.

  3. Melissa says:

    So if I am using the adequan injection once a month and not using another joint supplement is what I am doing not effective at all?

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Thanks for your question. You and your veterinarian are the most well-equipped for making decisions about incorporating Adequan I.M. into your individual horse¹s overall joint support strategy. While the only regimen that has been proven to reverse the effects of DJD (and is approved by the FDA) is one injection every four days for seven treatments, many owners choose to administer the product just prior to a clinic or show to maximize cartilage protection during a stressful event.
      That¹s because Adequan I.M. reaches peak therapeutic levels in joints two hours after intramuscular injection and can be detected in cartilage up to
      96 hours afterwards. We hope this additional information helps! – Dr.
      Lydia Gray

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