SEN­SI­TIVE STOM­ACH

EQUUS - - Targeted Relief From -

Jinx had al­ways had a sen­si­tive stom­ach. He had his first bout with gas­tric ul­cers as a wean­ling, when the stress of leav­ing his dam com­bined with di­etary changes trig­gered the painful ero­sion of his stom­ach lin­ing. Now, as a ma­ture event horse, he is still prone to ul­cers in the height of com­pe­ti­tion sea­son, and any­time he is given phenylbu­ta­zone he gets ir­ri­ta­ble. He col­icked last year after a week of bute and has not been given that med­i­ca­tion since. As an ac­tive ath­lete, how­ever, he could oc­ca­sion­ally ben­e­fit from an an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tion.

The best op­tion for Jinx is prob­a­bly firo­coxib. Sold un­der the name Equioxx, firo­coxib is a COX-2 in­hibitor, mean­ing it tar­gets only cer­tain classes of cy­clooxy­ge­nase en­zymes---those as­so­ci­ated with harm­ful in­flam­ma­tion ---while typ­i­cally pre­serv­ing those that have a pro­tec­tive func­tion. This means that firo­coxib can of­ten be given to horses who are sen­si­tive to con­ven­tional NSAIDs with much less risk of ad­verse side ef­fects, par­tic­u­larly right dor­sal col­i­tis, a se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

If a horse un­der my care has a his­tory of bad re­ac­tions to NSAIDs that in­hibit both COX-1 and COX2, I will try to use firo­coxib as an al­ter­na­tive when­ever pos­si­ble. The prob­lem is

that this med­i­ca­tion---avail­able in in­jectable or paste form---can get ex­pen­sive. For own­ers who can man­age it fi­nan­cially, it’s a great al­ter­na­tive, though.

The stan­dard dose of Equioxx is .1 mg per kilo­gram of body weight once daily for up to 14 days. I try to not keep horses on it much longer than 10 days. And while there is a much lower risk of side ef­fects, they can oc­cur. That’s be­cause even though almost all the COX-2 prostaglan­dins we are in­hibit­ing are in­flam­ma­tory, some have an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties, and an in­di­vid­ual’s im­mune re­sponse can vary.

I also in­struct the owner that we may have to give a higher dose the first time to get the blood lev­els to where they need to be. Jinx tol­er­ates it well, and the owner is re­lieved that we have another med­i­ca­tion we can use to help con­trol in­flam­ma­tion, be­cause he is a hard­work­ing horse.

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