Q: Could you tell me whether the antioxidant Pycnogenol is safe for horses? If so, what would be an appropriate dosage? I have found a recommended dosage for dogs but nothing for horses. Friends who have used it themselves have given Pycnogenol rave reviews. Can you offer any information? Geraldine C. Crane; Woodstock, Illinois

A: We have no way of knowing whether a supplement is “safe”or effective unless there has been sound research to prove it. Furthermore, we need research-based dosing information because too little can be ineffective and too much of anything can be unsafe.

Putting all of that aside, it would be very unlikely that Pycnogenol, a product derived from bark of the Pinus pinaster tree, would be harmful to horses when given at doses recommended for use in humans. However, there are no guarantees of safety, nor are there any guarantees that it would be effective.

Joe Bertone, DVM
Western University of
Health Sciences
Pomona, California