Why collagen peptides and what is collagen?

30 % of the body is made from collagen and it's especially useful for soft tissues generative processes.

Collagen in most simply terms is a certain type of protein. It is a long chain amino acid, which affects on skin’s elasticity and connective tissue’s cohesion.

More than 60% of lameness in horses is based on osteoarthritis. In this article we are looking at the collagen’s effectiveness in treatment of osteoarthritis.

Treatments which directly address the cause of joint pain in horses are scarce in the marketplace. Most treatments focus only in anti­-inflammatory effects.



Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease marked by progressive destruction of normal articular cartilage and subchondral bone (Martinek, 2003).

This development is typically characterised by lameness, functional disability and chronic pain. The chondrocytes play a central role in the development of osteoarthritis because they are responsible for the anabolic and catabolic balance of the cartilage metabolism.

If this balance is disturbed, the degenerative joint disease might develop (Bello & Oesser, 2006; Gelse, Poeschl, & Aigner, 2003). The loss of articular cartilage is the most critical point of OA; subsequently, bone deformation, synovitis, shrinking joint capsule and muscular atrophy occur. The cardinal symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and lameness (Donnell & Frisbie, 2014).

Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis

Risk factors are mainly abnormal physical stress levels, incongruent joint surfaces, fractures and microfractures in the subchondral bone.

Are collagen peptides useful for treating osteoarthritis?

Digestive system breaks down collagen to amino acids and peptides. Certain type of hydrolyzed collagen dissolves in digestive system to amino acids and biologically active collagen peptides, which according to studies can proceed to targeted organ like skin, joints and muscles.

Collagen peptides stimulate the biosynthesis of extracellular matrix molecules in cartilage tissue and diminish degenerative processes by modulating the expression of collagenases and proteoglycanases as shown in the cells of connective tissue (Ng et al., 2007; Schunck, Schulze, & Oesser, 2009).

Stimulation of joint cartilage metabolism and an increased production of extracellular matrix are presumably responsible for slowing down the progression of osteoarthritis and thus counteract wear and tear processes and might halt the vicious cycle of joint degeneration.


Why Petagile?

  • Bioactive Collagen Peptides® proven to stimulate joint cartilage metabolism
  • A new generation active ingredient improving mobility
  • A pure collagenous protein with no side effects


The effect of PETAGILE® has been studied in several pre­clinical and clinical trials. Taken orally, PETAGILE® is partially absorbed as intact peptides.

Gelita is well-known and trusted brand from Germany. Petagile is their collagen peptide, that is made for pets and horses and has gone through rigorous studies.

Petagile® accepted in EU (EC) 852/2004, 853/2004, 999/2001 and is therefore aloud and safe to feed for horses.



Summary of the study about collagen peptides to osteoarthritic horses

 The aim of the study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy of specific bioactive collagen peptides (BCP), here administered orally as PETAGILE®, on horses with mild to moderate, naturally occurring osteoarthritis.

 Data from a two-centred pilot study were used for the meta-analysis.

 Thirty-eight privately owned horses of various breeds were available. In one centre, 18 of these patients (6 ± 3 years; 519 ± 100 kg BW) received either 25 g (n = 6) or 50g (n=12) BCP/day orally for 12weeks. In the second centre, 20 horses (18 ± 4 years; 413 ± 94 kg BW) received either a placebo (control; n = 10) or 25 g BCP/day.

 The attending veterinarians performed an orthopedic examination including flexion tests and evaluated the degree of lameness, rotation pain, step length and arc of foot flight during trot (8 parameters) at the beginning and after 6 and 12 weeks.

 The horse owners answered a weekly questionnaire about their perception of lameness, mobility and the horses’ willingness to run. In the 50 g BCP group, in six of eight parameters, a strong effect (Cohen’s r > .5) was detected with two parameters (lameness and flexion pain) significantly improved already after 6 weeks.

 In the 25 g BCP group, a moderate effect (Cohen’s r = .3–0.5) was seen in six parameters, with three parameters improved already after 6 weeks. The owners reported a strong effect for mobility and willingness to run (Cohen’s r = .69 and .62, respectively) and a moderate effect (Cohen’s r = .49 and 0.41) for the development of lameness in the 50 g and 25 g BCP group in comparison with the placebo treatment.

 This study revealed promising effects of the safe oral-specific BCP supplementation on symptoms of osteoarthritis in horses already after 3 months. The higher dosage of 50 g BCP/day had superior impact.

 Further long-term investigations on specific BCP efficacy in horses with osteoarthritis, preferably in blinded and placebo-controlled studies, should be performed to confirm these first positive results.

Back to blog