After your horse undergoes colic surgery, he’ll likely get a few doses of medication to reduce inflammation and relieve pain associated with the procedure. But does it matter which anti-inflammatory the veterinarian reaches for to keep your horse comfortable?

Prof. Kerstin Fey, Dr. Med. Vet., Dipl. ECEIM, presented the results of a study on the topic at the 2015 World Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Oct. 8-10 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Fey, who worked with Julia Wiegand, DVM, on the project, is an equine internal medicine specialist at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.

Fey said non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly referred to as NSAIDs) are often used following colic surgery to help reduce pain and aid the healing process. However, there are only a few studies evaluating NSAIDs’ effects on horses’ pain levels and no comparative studies after colic surgery, she said.

So, Fey, Wiegand, and colleagues decided to compare how well two commonly used NSAIDs—flunixin meglumine (marketed in the United States as Banamine) and firocoxib (marketed as in the U.S. as Equioxx)—reduced pain in horses following colic surgery.

The team employed horses of mixed breeds and ages admitted to a German equine veterinary clinic for colic surgery from December 2012 through February 2014. They excluded very young horses and broodmares in late gestation, as well as horses with long surgical durations, extended recovery times, and additional complications.

The researchers separated the study horses into two groups; one group received firocoxib and the other received flunixin before general anes