Bute for Old Bones

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are sometimes necessary in aged horses to keep them comfortable.

Photo: iStock

Q. I have a 38-year-old grade gelding with huge, arthritic knees. He fell three weeks ago. Radiographs show nothing broken or fractured. My veterinarian wants him on bute forever. Is there anything else that could help him with no side effects?

Via email


A. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs are sometimes necessary in aged horses to keep them comfortable and many horses do not have any problem being on daily NSAIDs, including phenylbutazone (also known as bute). There are many joint supplements commercially available that can help the horse with mild arthritis, or help in combination with NSAIDS such as bute, but if the arthritis is severe you might, as your veterinarian suggested, need to use drugs to alleviate the chronic pain.

About the Author

Dianne McFarlane, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM

Dianne McFarlane, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, is an associate professor in physiological sciences at Oklahoma State University. Her research focuses on using a comparative animal approach to understanding the biological changes that accompany aging and the age-related factors that promote risk of neurodegenerative disease.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners