There is certainly not one answer for all sport horses when deciding if biologics or steroids is a more appropriate treatment option. It’s an individual case for each horse based on the medical situation examined. Steroids are generally used to manage osteoarthritis and synovitis, and are used in the management of joint pain in performance horses. Steroids also remain the most potent anti-inflammatory currently available for horses.
There has been a shift in focus with biologics offering drug-free, disease modifying alternatives to steroids to help avert the development or slow the advancement of osteoarthritis by the release of growth factors derived from the horse when injected. Biologics also aid in anti-inflammation and pain relief in tendon and ligament injuries when injected anti-inflammatory proteins are released at the injured site.
Existing metabolic or endocrine diseases, such as the presence of Cushing’s disease, and age of a horse will also play a role in forming a treatment plan for your horse. There are price considerations as well with biologics commanding a higher price tag than steroids.
Consult with one of our veterinarians if you have questions about treatment options or to schedule an evaluation with your horse.