Early detection and treatment of osteoarthritis in horses – SLU Holding invests in SGPTH Life Science AB and Artroa AB

Osteoarthritis in horses causes lameness and severe pain.Repeated treatments and long rehabilitation result in high costs for the owner.Thanks to a new test, the disease can be detected early – and with the help of a new drug, the disease can be slowed down.The test and the drug have been developed by Stina Ekman and Eva Skiöldebrand at the Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU) in collaboration with Elisabeth Hansson and Anders Lindahl at the University of Gothenburg.

Osteoarthritis affects both animals and humans, but horses develop the disease early in life as they are trained and competed at a young age.

The majority of competition horses get osteoarthritis and in order for us to be able to meet the requirements for a sustainable horse handling and pain-free horse in the future, an objective and quick diagnosis is required. A drug that cures the disease is also needed to avoid chronic pain in the horse that occurs when osteoarthritis develops, says Eva Skiöldebrand, professor at the Swedish University of Agriculture.

The researchers have both solutions.Today, osteoarthritis is only detected when the horse shows pain.The unique thing about the test is that it can detect an arthritis inflammation before the horse gets clinical symptoms.

By measuring so-called biomarkers in the horse’s blood, synovial fluid or saliva, the diagnosis can be made very early. Then you can start treatment and thereby slow down the disease, says Eva Skiöldebrand, professor at the Swedish University of Agriculture.

The drug has been tested in clinical trials and the results are very promising. SGPTH Life Science holds the patent for the biomarkers and Artroa AB holds the patent for the drug. SLU Holding and Uppsala University Invest now joins as partners in both companies.

 – We see great potential in both SGPTH Life Science AB and Artroa AB.It is leading research behind the companies, which will deliver solutions that are important for the entire horse industry, says Henrik Landgren, business developer at SLU Holding.


For more information

Eva Skiöldebrand, professor vid Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet
070-632 21 35

Henrik Landgren, affärsutvecklare SLU Holding
072-559 16 65


Press Photos

Eva Skiöldebrand – foto Jenny Svennås Gillner (SLU)
Hästhoppning (Shutterstock)



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