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Clinical Applications Of Phenylbutazone In Horses

Updated: Mar 20, 2023


Phenylbutazone has been widely used in equine medicine for more than 30 years to treat lameness, especially chronic conditions such as navicular disease and osteoarthritis. In addition, phenylbutazone is often the treatment of choice for soft tissue injuries or inflammation in performance horses. Tissue injuries associated with racing or eventing, lacerations, tissue trauma, spavins, minor sprains, and muscle soreness are often treated with phenylbutazone. In a study evaluating an equine lameness model, phenylbutazone at 4.4 mg/kg IV administered once daily was effective for 24 hours, with a peak effect occurring after 8-12 hours. Phenylbutazone may be administered orally or intravenously, but because of local irritancy to tissues, it must not be administered intramuscularly. When administering phenylbutazone IV, the veterinarian must ensure that none leaks perivascularly.

In case the phenylbutazone inadvertently has been administered perivascularly, the veterinarian should inject 500-2500 ml of .9% saline or .9% saline with dimethyl sulfoxide (e.g., 50 ml of 90-99% concentration of DMSO in 1 liter of .9% saline) into the region of the perivascular injection. If the drug is diluted quickly, the skin may not slough.


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