Hyaluronic Acid

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hy-al-u-Ron-ik AS-id - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Hyalovet
  • Hylartin
  • Hyvixc
  • I-Drop Vet Plus


Rx symbolNormal joints have pads of cartilage protecting the ends of the bones that form the joint and a surrounding capsule lined by a membrane which is active in maintaining healthy joint functions.

Hyaluronic acid is a proteoglycan, an organic chemical composed of protein and carbohydrate molecules, and is manufactured by the synovial lining of the joint and by the cells that manufacture cartilage.  Hyaluronic acid forms a thin coating on articular cartilage and is a component of joint fluid.


When joint injury causes inflammation or cartilage damage, and lessens the quality of the joint fluid, it can lead to degenerative joint disease.  Hyaluronic supplementation becomes necessary to enhance healing.  It has an anti-inflammatory effect in the joint and its use may help affect the metabolism of some circulating white blood cells when given intravenously.

It is thought to enhance healing by supporting connective tissue when used topically on wounds and in some soft tissue surgery.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationHyaluronic Sodium
Method Dosage Concentration Period Duration
Intra-articular injection1 2-4 ml 2 10 mg/ml Once every 1 or 2 weeks Not to exceed 2 injections per week for a total of 4 weeks


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  • 1May treat more than one joint at a time.
  • 22 ml for small to medium joints (carpal, fetlock). 4 ml for large joints (hock).

Side Effects

An acute inflammatory reaction in the joint sometimes occurs.  It is important to determine if this is a drug reaction or an infection.  Some veterinarians add antibiotics to the hyaluronic acid when injecting the joint.


Hyaluronic acid should not be used in infected joints.  Close attention should be paid to sterile or aseptic technique when injecting joints.  Injection should be avoided when the skin is damaged or blistered, or when other skin problems are present.

Excess joint fluid is usually drained or removed before intra-articular injection of HA.

Hyaluronic acid is FDA approved for use in horses and is a prescription drug.  U.S. federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian.

HA is commonly used in competition horses, but may be forbidden during some drug-free competitions.  It is important to check with the individual regulatory group.


No drug interactions have been reported.


Experimental overdoses have caused no adverse effect.


Cortaflex HA Super Powder  IV 40mgCortaflex HA Super Powder IV 40mg

Hyalum Hyaluronic Acid Drops  Intra-articular 10 - 40Hyalum Hyaluronic Acid Drops Intra-articular 10 - 40



About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.