Medications currently available to treat arthritis fall into two broad, but overlapping categories, anti-inflammatories for pain relief (eg phenylbutazone) and those that promote the maintenance of cartilage and the articular environment (eg Adequan, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin/glucosamine). While all of these medications are effective to some extent, there is a need for additional, easily administered oral treatments that halt the progression of equine arthritis.
We are investigating the potential therapeutic application of three chemicals, the antibiotics doxycycline and minocycline, and chemically modified tetracycline-8 (CMT-8), for the treatment of equine arthritis. The potential of these chemicals as anti-arthritis drugs is through their inhibition of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), specifically those responsible for cartilage degradation
The implication is that by inhibiting the MMPs, cartilage integrity is maintained and therefore so is a healthy joint/sound horse. The greatest incentive for investigating these chemicals is in preserving joint heath, and not simply minimizing joint pain, in an effort to maintain performance in our equine athletes.