The Power of NSAIDs

Many years ago, long before veterinary medicine was on my mind, I toured a large equine retirement facility in search of a home for my older mare. When I arrived, the property owner was leading a stiff geriatric gelding slowly out of his stall. She syringed a medication into his mouth, and turned him out in a pasture. At the conclusion of the tour some hours later, I noticed that gelding running freely, bucking and playing with his friends. He was 43 years old, and that medication was Bute.

If your horse has ever had an orthopedic ailment such as degenerative joint disease, you’re probably familiar with the efficacy of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other common uses for NSAIDs include treating fever, colic, and pneumonia. The following is not an exhaustive list of all NSAIDs but reviews those that are clinically proven or have been otherwise successfully used in horses over the years. In a 2009 survey of 1,400 horse owners and trainers, 96% of respondents used NSAIDs. Even if you are among those who are already comfortable with administrating these medications, your veterinarian should be the guiding professional. This article continues in the March 2021 issue of The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care. Subscribe now and get an immediate download of the issue to continue reading. Current magazine subscribers can access the digital edition here. 

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