Last Updated on March 23, 2022 by Allison Price
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to treat short-term pain, inflammation, and fevers. Veterinarians prescribe bute for horses for lameness due to soft tissue injury, muscle soreness and bone and joint problems, and laminitis.
Phenylbutazone is a strong binder to proteins in horse blood plasma. It then begins circulating ( Bogan 1972). It reduces inflammation by blocking prostaglandins’ effects, which are a group of hormones that can affect the body in a variety of ways including mediating the inflammatory response. Bute inhibits a specific enzyme called cyclooxygenase. Cyclooxygenase enzymes convert arachidonic acids (a component in the cellular walls) into molecules known as eicosanoids. Prostaglandin molecules are included in eicosanoids. Bute inhibits COX enzymes from metabolizing protaglandins. This reduces inflammation (Banse and al., 2017). Horses can be more comfortable during recovery due to the reduction of inflammation and pain relief.
Bute for horses is able to control the release of prostaglandins from the damaged tissue. It also works on prostaglandins made by normal tissue. These prostaglandins perform ‘normal’ housekeeping functions, such as controlling blood flow and lining the stomach. ( Banse and al., 2017). Bute overuse or improper administration can cause kidney damage and gastrointestinal problems.
Before administering bute, horse owners should at least consult their vet. Your horse’s condition may require your vet to inspect your horse. They may recommend a different treatment or give you guidelines for administering bute.