Acetaminophen Could Relieve Laminitis Pain

In one trial, oral acetaminophen was comparable to flunixin meglumine at relieving hoof pain.
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You share many things with your horse on a regular basis: long rides, a carrot, and baths (because, let’s face it, no one can stay dry and give a horse a bath!). But medications? According to one research group, a common pain reliever found in many peoples’ medicine cabinets could help relieve pain in horses with laminitis.

At the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida, Jonathan Foreman, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, presented the results of a study in which he and colleagues tested whether acetaminophen (yes, the same medication that’s in your trusty Tylenol bottle) effectively relieved foot pain in horses. Foreman is a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Teaching Hospital, in Urbana.

Veterinarians often prescribe traditionally used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—such as phenylbutazone (PBZ) or flunixin meglumine (FM, Banamine)—to help reduce or eliminate foot pain (such as that associated with laminitis). But such drugs carry potentially dangerous side effects, including toxicity, ulcer development, and renal (kidney) disease. Alternatives to classic NSAIDs include narcotics and topical treatments, but neither is without complications or challenges. As such, researchers are still on the hunt for effective treatments with fewer side effects.

Foreman and colleagues recently compared acetaminophen’s efficacy in relieving foot pain to that of FM. Foreman said the drug is well-absorbed in horses’ small intestines and is metabolized in the liver

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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