Adequan vs Pentosan for Horse! Which is Better (Quick Facts)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 11/17/22 •  5 min read

Just like humans, horses suffer from joint-related problems with age. Preventing stress and trauma on joints in horses can be inevitable because of daily riding, performance, or athletic training.

At some point, your horse will suffer from joint inflammation and this eventually leads to arthritis. So, what do you do when your horse is suffering from joint disease?

Well, there are many health products for joints you can choose from. The most common products in the market for treating horse joints include Adequan, Pentosan, and Legend. But which one is the best? I will take you through a detailed comparison of adequan vs pentosan horse in this guide.

Let’s dive in and learn which one is the best!

What does adequan & pentosan do for horses?

Adequan is an equine aid for arthritis, joint injury lameness, and degenerative joint disease. This treatment is administered into the muscles every four days for a dose of seven treatments. After using this treatment, you can see the results in four weeks. It has a beneficial effect in minimizing inflammation to keep the horse joint moving.

This treatment works by breaking down the cartilage in the hocks and knees to reduce inflammation, make healthy joint fluid, and prevent cartilage damage. The claimed benefits of adequan include cartilage degeneration, joint treatment, and controlling traumatic joint arthritis.

On the other hand, pentosan is a substance that is used to treat inflammatory joint diseases like osteochondrosis, osteoarthritis, and traumatic joint inflammation.  It is administered through intramuscular injection for five-seven days in a treatment dosage of seven days.

Apart from injection in the muscle, pentosan can be taken orally or through intra-articular injection (joint injection). You can see the results after a few days of using the treatment.

The benefits of using pentosan include boosting blood supply in the joints, inhibiting destructive enzymes, acting as an anti-inflammatory, promotes quality joint fluid and quality cartilage. You can also use this treatment if you need a long-term solution for managing osteoarthritis.

Related: Discover the differences between Icelandic and Fjord horses! Learn which breed is better for your needs, as well as their unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.

What are the similarities and differences between adequan and pentosan horse?

Both pentosan and adequan are used for overall horse joint health. Adequan works well to treat joint injuries. Using pentosan reverses osteoarthritis effects in joints.

Another similarity between the two is the way they are administered through injection. Pentosan is given through intramuscular injection or orally while adequan is through intra-articular injection.

The difference between pentosan and adequan is the dosage. Adequan requires a four-day muscle injection for a seven-day dosage. Pentosan requires an injection of 5-7 days in a treatment dosage of seven days.

Pentosan works immediately while adequan takes up to four weeks to see the effects. Lastly, the two differ in price. Adequan is expensive compared to pentosan.

Adequan vs Pentosan for Horse

How long does adequan & pentosan last in horses?

After intramuscular administration, adequan reaches the joints fast to provide relief. It is easily absorbed, and it continues to work for up to 96 hours. The levels of hyaluronic acid almost double within 48 hours and you can easily note the significant increase from 24-96 hours.

On the other hand, pentosan takes 2-3 weeks to work. However, this depends on your horse, the inflammation, and the severity of the injury.

What are the side effects of Adequan & pentosan in horses?

The side effects of these treatments on sports horses or performance horses can differ. For instance, when adequan is given by a licensed veterinarian, you can expect very few side effects. The common side effects associated with adequan include:

Pentosan works well to deal with equine arthritis. However, it also has some side effects. Some of these side effects can be severe while others are mild. If your horse is allergic to pentosan, avoid giving him any medication with pentosan to prevent adverse reactions. The side effects include:

Which is better?

There is no better drug than the other. However, many veterinarians recommend pentosan over adequan. Pentosan gives your horse a good feeling around the neck and its effects can be seen right away. (Read details about horse vet visit costs).

If pentosan is not available, you can go for adequan. Make sure you stick to one drug. Using both of them is not recommended because it can be dangerous for your horse. (Also read more about does weed is toxic to horses?)

What is the alternative?

Another alternative to pentosan and adequan is the legend which also treats joint inflammation. This drug is similar to the hyaluronic acid that is naturally present in joint fluid. It works well in treating joint dysfunction in horses as a result of non-infectious synovitis related to equine osteoarthritis. 

Using legend has many benefits like reducing inflammatory mediators in the joints, improving lameness, and improving synovial fluid.


Bone and joint issues are common as horses grow older so you are likely to see this problem in a senior horse. Proper horse care and giving your horse joint supplement are essential for overall joint health. If your horse is suffering from joint inflammation, you can consider any of the above anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis treatment.

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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