Q. Several Standardbred trainers have told me that when a vet cannot find what is wrong with their horses, the vet will suggest putting them on Baycox. I recently had two vets tell me to try my 3-year-old trotter on Baycox. They had gone all over him and thought that might help him where nothing else has. He has had no tests, blood or spinal. So my question is: What else can this drug do to help a horse? Does it treat other things, not just EPM?


A. Currently the FDA allows veterinarians to import Baycox into the United States on an experimental basis only. Evidence is still being gathered about the effectiveness of Baycox in treating EPM. It is possible there are other protozoa, coccidia, or bacteria that might be causing unrecognized neurological conditions that Baycox might be effective in treating. However, I fear indiscriminate use of Baycox or any other antimicrobial has the potential for causing more problems than it cures by making these already difficult organisms even more resistant. Often, benign neglect will have the same success as indiscriminate EPM therapy.

Today we're fortunate to have many diagnostic tools to help define what were once obscure, undiagnosed lamenesses. I suggest pursuing your horse's problem a bit further. This might require taking your horse to a referral hospital with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment like nuclear scintigraphy.

Owner treatment of undiagnosed orthopedic injuries in performance horses can cause catastrophic injuries like condylar and sesamoid fractures. Ask your vet to help pursue your horse's lameness -- a definitive diagnosis at the end of the day will help everyone rest easier at night.

About the Author

Jay Addison, DVM

Jay Addison, DVM, is a practitioner in Independance, La.

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