The line between work and play is rather blurry for Dr. Ashlee Watts. As an equine orthopedic surgeon, researcher and instructor at Texas A&M University, Dr. Watts is all horse, all the time. In her spare time, Dr. Watts swaps out the stethoscope for a stock tie and competes nationally in dressage.
So it’s no surprise as both an equine orthopedic practitioner and competitive equestrian, Dr. Watts focuses much of her research on issues commonly associated with equine athletes. Issues like treating joint lameness, the focus of her latest clinical trial recently published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The study was a randomized, controlled trial of the effects of the anti-inflammatory antioxidant Resveratrol in treating lameness localized to the hocks in performance horses. Ultimately, the trial concluded that the administered supplement containing resveratrol, Equithrive, is an effective therapy for treating hock lameness.
"This type of study is especially rare in the equine supplement industry due to time and cost involved and there are no requirements for understanding the mechanism of action or even for proof of efficacy of supplements marketed in the United States,” said Dr. Watts, noting she now uses the product on her own horses. “This is in contrast to drugs, which are strictly regulated by the FDA, where companies are required to demonstrate safety and efficacy in client-owned horses with naturally occurring disease prior to approval in the United States.”
“This was a two-year research project and it is very exciting to me because blinded, randomized and controlled clinical trials are not commonly performed in equine veterinary medicine.”
-Dr. Ashlee Watts, DVM
Resveratrol is a compound found in numerous plants, most notably red grape skins, which is why red wine has been proven to have numerous health benefits.
While resveratrol supplements for humans have been on the market for years, Equithrive Founder and President Dr. Patrick Lawless has pioneered its use in equine health. Equithrive products contain a proprietary form of resveratrol called Resverasyn®, which is 99% pure resveratrol that’s been reduced in size for better absorption, and encapsulated to protect the compound from deterioration before reaching tissues in the body.
“Equithrive Joint has actually been on the market since 2009. From product launch to the present, our company has remained focused on scientifically validating the effectiveness of the product in supporting equine joint health,” Dr. Lawless noted. “The product has now been proven to reduce lameness, inflammation and oxidative stress in performance horses in independent university studies. As a company, we think it is important to back up marketing claims with the relevant scientific data rather than simply putting together a formula and marketing it as effective without scientific proof.”
STUDY: A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of resveratrol administration in performance horses with lameness localized to the distal tarsal joints [Journal of the American Veterinary Association]