EQUUS - - Medicalfro­nt -

A new op­tion for treat­ing arthritic joint pain and in­flam­ma­tion in horses will soon be avail­able. This sum­mer, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) ap­proved a tablet form of the COX-2 se­lec­tive firo­coxib, sold un­der the name Equioxx. The tablets are ex­pected to be avail­able by pre­scrip­tion only through vet­eri­nar­i­ans by early Oc­to­ber.

COX-2 se­lec­tives are non­s­teroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory drugs (NSAIDs) that block enzymes that lead to in­flam­ma­tion while spar­ing oth­ers that sup­port nor­mal body func­tions. This se­lec­tive ac­tion re­duces the risk of cer­tain side ef­fects as­so­ci­ated with other NSAIDs, such as gas­tric ul­cers and com­pro­mised kid­ney func­tion. Equioxx was the first---and re­mains the only---COX-2 se­lec­tive avail­able for horses. The paste form was ap­proved in 2005 and the in­jectable in 2010.

Equioxx tablets, which con­tain 57 mil­ligrams of firo­coxib, are for­mu­lated as a chew­able ad­min­is­tered once a day to horses weigh­ing 800 to 1,300 pounds and ap­pear to be ex­tremely palat­able, says Hoyt Cheramie, DVM, se­nior man­ager of large an­i­mals ve­teri­nary ser­vices with Me­rial. “Many horses will eat one di­rectly out of your hand, but con­sump­tion of the en­tire dose should be con­firmed.” Cheramie says he ex­pects the tablet to be less ex­pen­sive per dose than the paste for­mu­la­tion of Equioxx. (On av­er­age, the cost for the paste ranges from $5.25 to $10.35 per dose.)

The op­tion of pre­scrib­ing Equioxx in tablet form will al­low vet­eri­nar­i­ans to bet­ter tai­lor treat­ment to a horse’s par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, says Cheramie. “Vet­eri­nar­i­ans might con­tinue to use the in­jectable form in a hos­pi­tal set­ting, if a horse isn’t eat­ing or al­ready has a catheter in place,” he says. “The paste will still be help­ful for giv­ing horses very spe­cific doses; you can ad­just it to within 50-pound in­cre­ments, which can be very ben­e­fi­cial to some­one who needs to stay within al­low­able lev­els for com­pe­ti­tion.” Equioxx is the only NSAID ap­proved for 14-day con­sec­u­tive use by the Amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse As­so­ci­a­tion and the United States Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion.

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