Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such phenylbutazone, flunixin meglumine, and ketoprofen—these are all common drugs when it comes to managing inflammation in horses. Each has its advantages and disadvantages though, and when trying to block the inflammatory response in horses with laminitis there is no gold standard treatment. But what if a new drug, from an entirely untapped class, got thrown into the mix?

This is the question Brazilian researchers aimed to answer when they studied the effects of reparixin, a drug used in organ transplant and stroke patients, on horses with experimentally induced laminitis. Rafael Faleiros, DVM, PhD, a professor at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, presented their findings at the 2013 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, held Nov. 1-3 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Laminitis is a devastating hoof disease in which the interlocking leaflike tissues called laminae anchoring the coffin bone within the hoof become inflamed and, thus, fail to support the bone.

Reparixin is an experimental drug that prevents white blood cells from leaving the bloodstream and invading and damaging tissue during acute inflammation. It might lend a hand in laminitis cases because "leukocyte (white blood cell) infiltration in laminar tissue is a consistent event in equine acute laminitis that precedes and may contribute to the detachment of hoof wall from the coffin bone," Faleiros explained.

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