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By Glory Ann Kurtz
Jan. 15, 2010 

You just had a disheartening telephone call from your trainer. Your weekend cutting horse seems to be having joint problems. You immediately call your veterinarian, and after he checks out your partner for your weekend addiction, the prognosis is hock injections – or possibly surgery. Seems the logical thing to do; it happens every day and you need to get back to the cutting arena as soon as possible.

But there is another alternative and your horse will love you for it. It is a natural alternative which has been formulated by a veterinarian and endorsed by well-known veterinarians across the country. It’s called Myristol and it contains a combination of four joint health ingredients, including an omega 5 fatty acid (cetyl myristoleate – where it got its name), glucosamine HCI, MSM and a mixture of individual and short-chain amino acids (hydrolyzed collagen). Each ingredient supports joint health in its own way, with the combination of these ingredients producing a single product that can address the many different facets of joint inflammation and disease.

A veterinarian at the well-known Weatherford Equine Clinic, Weatherford, Texas, firmly believes in the product, calling it “the best joint supplement we can offer our clients.” He said that he likes the daily supplementation approach Myristol provides, compared to some injectables, which are given once or twice per month. “Some of our clients have also given Myristol to older horses. When they felt the improvement may have been coincidental, they started their animals back on a feed-store supplement and then discovered that the signs returned. Improvement in these cases was rapid and dramatic after switching back to Myristol.”

A Jackson, Wyo., veterinarian calls Myristol one of the most comprehensive joint supplements she can recommend, saying, “It supports the components of cartilage to keep it healthy and additionally has anti-inflammatory and lubricating properties.”

The history of Myristol:
Gayle Trotter, 58, an equine surgeon for over 35 years, with 25 of them at Colorado State University (CSU) Veterinary Teaching Hospital, is originally from Canada and attended the veterinary school at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Trotter is now semi-retired and lives with his wife, Judi, in Millsap, Texas (a suburb of Weatherford). Trotter has the “cutting disease” being an amateur cutter. He is also the veterinarian who formulated Myristol.

After doing research for several years, Trotter got more interested in joint-disease prevention, versus intervention after problems were already present. He developed Myristol in 2003, as he felt there was a need for a quality product with a more comprehensive list of ingredients. “I wanted to come up with a product that would make joints healthier – one that was really good,” Trotter said.

“I soon had a product for horses,” Trotter said, “Then I also developed a canine product. We now have a feline product, as well as our own human product.

When Trotter first came out with Myristol, he marketed it through veterinarians, just as he does today. “I wanted a high-quality, ethical product and I wanted it to be carried professionally,” Trotter said. “I wanted to have a product that really made a difference and I wanted veterinarians to become familiar with it. Veterinarians are like many physicians in that they have extensive experience with pharmaceuticals (drugs). However, as a group, veterinarians are less exposed to preventative nutritional products. I felt if they tried this product and found that it worked, they would use it preventatively so they didn’t have to use as many drugs.”

“Owners are very interested in Myristol as an alternative,” Trotter said. “Joint injections and surgery cost a lot of money and so does lay-up time. It’s not that using Myristol eliminates joint injections, surgery or lay-ups, but it seems to reduce the need for frequent joint injections. I think Myristol is largely a ‘word-of-mouth’ product.

“One of the reasons I want to keep it in the veterinary profession is because I want veterinarians to get a little more tuned in to prevention and see that there are other options to injections. If I had to guess, of all of the equine veterinarians in the United States, I’ll bet only 1 or 2 percent of them have heard of Myristol.”

“We love it when we get good feedback. Not only because it is good for business, but it also helps the animal. They don’t have the soreness, they don’t need to be injected – and when you see the way some of them change, it’s great – it’s our reward.”

There’s more than what you see:
Trotter is more than a surgeon, a researcher, an inventor and a vet. He’s also a chiropractor. He claims that the reason he took a look at chiropractic is because he was frustrated with what conventional medicine had to offer for certain things. “It gave me tools to help more horses,” Trotter said. “It didn’t give me the tools to help all of them, but there’s a group of them where I can really make a difference. With my conventional training, I wouldn’t have been able to tell they had anything wrong with them, but now I can help some of those horses a lot.”

Trotter said he had the good fortune to spend some time, one on one, with a French veterinarian who was also an osteopath. “His approach was not traditional chiropractic, as we know it here,” Trotter said. “The big difference that I can see between osteopathy and chiropractic, in this country anyway, is osteopathy involves ‘long-lever’ work. It’s when you place a limb or the head and neck into a certain position to do the adjustment. Overall, I think I’ve gotten a lot less aggressive with what I do to get better results. As I have gotten softer in my technique, I believe my results have become better.

How do you know if the product works?
Trotter says that if you really want to know if it works, take a middle-aged horse – an old campaigner – that has some joint-related issues. You will often see an improvement in those horses within two or three weeks. “They’re feeling so much better, it can make a believer out of you,” Trotter said.

While Myristol works wonders on many horses that already have joint problems, and it’s easy to see that it is working, Trotter suggests that for performance horses, start using it once you start riding them. “Three-year-olds should definitely be on it,” Trotter said. “And it’s probably better to start using it late in the 2-year-old year.”

Trotter says the product should be given every day, but for horses that begin taking Myristol when they start being ridden, and stay on it through their first performance year, it can be difficult to quantify what you are spending your money on. If these young horses don’t have any joint disease, how are you going to tell if it works?

“The only way is to reflect back and say, ‘Well, I got through the Futurity and didn’t have to inject this horse – or I only did him once, versus what I used to do.’ That’s part of the transition process with people employing prevention over intervention. They have got to try it and realize the results over a period of time.

Over a two-year period, if you were to knock off three series of joint injections, that would be cost effective. But to me, the difference is that joint injections are an intervention that’s going to give you a symptom change for a given period of time. It’s an intervention with a drug versus taking what you need nutritionally everyday to stay healthy. They are just such opposite approaches, and to me, intervention is fine when you need it, but if you can minimize that by taking nutrients and get the same kind of effect, I think the prevention approach is a better fit for a health schedule.

What does Myristol work best on?
“There are a range of conditions on which I know it works,” Trotter said. “I think it will work on any joint condition – ring bone, hock problems and sore stifles. Anatomically, all joints have the same tissue in them. They move differently and have different angles and motion, but the same things go on in all joints. For performance horses, the biggest areas would be stifles, hocks, fetlocks and coffin joints. It can help with issues in all of those.

How much do you give and what does it cost?
A normal-sized horse (between 950-and 1,200 pounds) would use two scoops, or just under three ounces per day. Myristol comes in three sizes. The largest bucket would cost the consumer, at full retail, around $2.75 per day. The smallest bucket would be the most expensive way to buy it, costing around $3 per day.

However, the Trotters had a customer that had some dressage horses that weighed about 1,500 pounds and she found she needed to use three scoops a day rather than two.

How do you get Myristol?
Anyone interested in purchasing Myristol needs to go to his or her veterinarian and have them place their order. There is considerable information on the product at the website and further questions can be answered using e-mail contact from that site. Myristol is not currently available for order online.

Myristol for cats and dogs:
But Myristol is not only for horses – it’s for your best friends too: your dog and cat. “In dogs, especially some of the old ones that are arthritic, Myristol can create a very positive change in their quality of life,” Trotter said. “We also started feeding our 15-year-old cat the dog pills a couple of years ago. He was very stiff and slow getting around and was not very happy. The positive change was quite striking. It has been two years now and he is still getting around real well.

“We also have a horse client who had older cats that were having similar problems to those of our cat. She also tried the canine pills and saw a positive change within four days of starting the supplement. We have since developed a powdered product specifically for cats, and our human product Myristocol will soon be available.”

They’re not all believers:
Trotter notes that not all veterinarians and animal owners believe in joint health supplements, just as they don’t believe there is benefit from alternative or complementary medicine modalities such as chiropractic or acupuncture.

However, you do have to take the initial ‘leap of faith’ to see the difference that can take place. Results from a clinical research study done using Myristol in horses have been accepted for presentation at the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) meeting this December.

“I hope this will provide a stimulus for more veterinarians to try Myristol,” Trotter said. “I think their patients will thank them if they do.

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