EQUUS - - Medical Front -

A large-scale in­ter­na­tional study sug­gests that horses in the United States are more likely to re­ceive non­s­teroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory drugs (NSAIDs) than are those in Canada or the United King­dom.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Glas­gow in Scot­land ex­am­ined more than 13 mil­lion case records from 397,320 horses re­ceiv­ing treat­ment from 1987 to 2013. The records were col­lected from 10 equine vet­eri­nary prac­tices in the United King­dom, seven in the United States and two in Canada. The re­searchers used data-min­ing soft­ware to iden­tify in­stances when NSAID med­i­ca­tions were pre­scribed. Those in­stances were then com­pared to the to­tal num­ber of horses in the data­base at that time to calculate the preva­lence of NSAID us­age.

The data showed that pre­scrip­tions for NSAIDs were most com­mon in the United States, with 42.4 per­cent of horses re­ceiv­ing this type of med­i­ca­tion at least once in their life­time. Among Cana­dian horses, 34.2 per­cent had been pre­scribed an NSAID at least once and in the United King­dom NSAIDs were pre­scribed in 28.6 per­cent of horses.

Phenylbu­ta­zone and flu­nixin meg­lu­mine were the most fre­quently pre­scribed NSAIDs in all coun­tries, and only a small pro­por­tion of horses re­ceived meloxi­cam, ke­to­pro­fen or firo­coxib. Phenylbu­ta­zone was most of­ten pre­scribed for or­tho­pe­dic con­di­tions, while flu­nixin meg­lu­mine was most com­monly ad­min­is­tered to al­le­vi­ate pain as­so­ci­ated with colic.

The re­searchers note that “de­spite sev­eral other NSAIDs be­ing avail­able and a sub­stan­tial ef­fort be­ing made to eval­u­ate their ef­fi­cacy, the pre­scrip­tion of drugs other than phenylbu­ta­zone and flu­nixin meg­lu­mine re­mains rather lim­ited.”

Ref­er­ence: “Pro­por­tion of non­s­teroidal an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory drug pre­scrip­tion in equine prac­tice,” Equine Vet­eri­nary Jour­nal, July 2018

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