Veterinarians Now Have a Drug to Reduce Fever in Horses

The FDA recently approved dipyrone to address fever in horses with respiratory infections.
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Veterinarians Now Have a Drug to Reduce Fever in Horses
The FDA recently approved dipyrone to address fever in horses with respiratory infections. | Photo: iStock
In November 2019 the FDA approved the first and only medication for fever control in horses: dipyrone. Prior to this drug coming available, veterinarians were limited to using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to address febrile horses. During the 65th Annual American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 7-11, 2019, in Denver, Colorado, Emily Sundman, DVM, clinical development manager at Kindred Biosciences, described the efficacy studies she’s done on the drug.

Dipyrone is a drug used in human and veterinary medicine for pain relief, fever reduction, muscle spasm suppression, and as an anti-inflammatory. In horses, veterinarians need to control fevers as quickly as possible to minimize deleterious systemic effects and improve patient well-being, Sundman explained.

To test dipyrone’s ability to reduce horses’ body temperature, she and her team conducted two studies on adult horses with respiratory infections and rectal temperatures of at least 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

Study 1

Sundman said they performed the first study, done without a placebo group, simply to determine what to expect from the drug. Her team gave eight affected horses a single intravenous (IV) 30 mg/kg dose of dipyrone and took rectal temperatures before drug administration and one, two, three, and six hours later

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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