NSAID USE STUDIED
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