EQUUS - - Epm -

Af­ter hit­ting the gym hard, you may reach for an ibupro­fen to com­bat the sore­ness you know you’ll feel the next day. Does it make sense, then, to give a hard­work­ing horse a dose of phenylbu­ta­zone in the same “just in case” spirit? My an­swer to this is usu­ally “no.” Phenylbu­ta­zone (“bute”) is a non­s­teroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory drug (NSAID). Other drugs in this cat­e­gory in­clude Banamine and Equioxx.

Phenylbu­ta­zone is so ef­fec­tive at de­creas­ing in­flam­ma­tion that it can mask signs of an in­jury. Let’s say, for ex­am­ple, your horse stum­bled on a ride and sus­tained a strain. If you give him a bute, it might im­pede your vet­eri­nar­ian’s abil­ity to eval­u­ate the in­jury. Is he just a lit­tle lame? Or is he re­ally lame and the bute is cov­er­ing it up? That can be hard to tell when a horse is al­ready med­i­cated.

Even if he isn’t in­jured, “pre­ven­tive” bute can make it dif­fi­cult to man­age an ath­letic horse. Our horses can’t tell us when they’ve over­done some­thing and should take it easy the next day. The only way we can de­ter­mine this is to look for stiff­ness in how he moves, and bute can make that chal­leng­ing. The ef­fects of bute last be­tween 12 and 24 hours, so you won’t get a clear pic­ture of how a horse is faring af­ter a hard work­out for that long.

Of course, bute can be very help­ful in man­ag­ing spe­cific in­juries and pre­dictable and chronic con­di­tions. There here are many horses—par­tic­u­larly orses—par­tic­u­larly older der ath­letes—who are re kept “in the game” ame” with regular, low w doses of bute to help elp man­age early arthri­tis. rthri­tis. But be­yond those hose types of uses, a pre­ven­tive bute af­ter fter a hard work­out isn’t n’t a good idea.

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