Devil's claw has been used to treat pain and inflammation in horses for years, but not much is known about how the equine body responds to the active ingredients. Because of this, the appropriate dosage has been difficult to determine, reports The Horse.
A scientist at the University of Veterinary Medicine, in Vienna, Austria, Dr. Karin Zitterl-Eglseer evaluated horses responses to harpagoside, the active ingredient in devil's claw. Her study team included Drs.Sonja Axmann, Karin Hummel, Katharina Nöbauer and Ebrahim Razzazi‐Fazeli; they sought to determine how the drug is absorbed, distributed and excreted by horses, which would assist in determining the correct dosage and treatment protocol.
Many equine owners have been encouraged to use devil's claw on horses that require ongoing pain relief, as it's not believed to carry the risk of gastric ulcers that NSAIDs do.
The study used six Warmbloods that were given one dose of harpagoside through a nasal tube; blood samples were taken 11 times over the next 24 hours to determine the levels of harpagoside in the body at different times.
Zitterl-Eglseer reported that harpagoside was detected in the plasma of the horses 30 minutes after it was administered and was still able to be detected nine hours later. There was no detection of metabolism of harpagoside in the liver and its rapid absorption indicates that it will offer rapid relief to an equine patient.
The research concluded that devil's claw is safe and well-tolerated by horses when administered orally.
Read more at The Horse.
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