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  1. #1
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    Default Giving bute long term question

    I hope you can give me some opinions and experience-

    Recently went to a lovely barn where I noticed that most of their older (17+yrs) horses were given 1 gram bute every other day. This info was on their stall doors with the feeding schedule so I assume it is not short term. Has anyone used bute long term successfully in this way? By that I mean, it helped with pain/stiffness and did not produce any bad side effects?

    thanks for any input..



  2. #2
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    I know many people who have their horses on a low dosage of bute daily with no ill effects (and 1g daily isn't that much). But, my boy was on 1g twice a day for a month, then backed down to 1g daily... and we think it may have given him ulcers. Around the same time he was on bute he picked up the nasty habit of cribbing. Cribbing has since stopped when he moved to pasture 24/7 (had been off bute for nearly a year).

    Bute can also led to kidney or liver issues (I forget which) when on long term, so it's best to do at least yearly bloodwork to monitor organ functions.

    I've now switched to Previcox (the canine version of Equioxx) without any side effects. And it's cheap!

    ETA: Gus was on bute for pain/inflammation associated with a torn CCL of the stifle... it did seem to help, but produced the aforementioned side effects.
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog
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  3. #3
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    Sure, when they are old and a little creaky, many add some bute in-along with careful monitering work load, reducing jump heights and frequencies, footing and everything else to help them last comfortably.

    You read all sorts of things but, statistically, horses are old in mid to late teens. Many retire around 16 or so and you cannot get medical coverage past 18. For every one you read still going in serious competition at 22, there are 10 that are not.

    1 gram every other day on one that has proven they tolerate it well should not be an issue. Long term side effects...well...not going to be an issue on a late teen or early 20ish horse. there are other NSAID choices but all of them do produce some side effects in some that take it, just like human drugs.

    I know some will say they won't do it...personally can't stand to see an oldster in pain because the owner will not give him an aspirin equivelant...and alot of these seniors want to keep working and are miserable when they are not. So help 'em out a little.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    Sure, when they are old and a little creaky, many add some bute in-along with careful monitering work load, reducing jump heights and frequencies, footing and everything else to help them last comfortably.

    You read all sorts of things but, statistically, horses are old in mid to late teens. Many retire around 16 or so and you cannot get medical coverage past 18. For every one you read still going in serious competition at 22, there are 10 that are not.

    1 gram every other day on one that has proven they tolerate it well should not be an issue. Long term side effects...well...not going to be an issue on a late teen or early 20ish horse. there are other NSAID choices but all of them do produce some side effects in some that take it, just like human drugs.

    I know some will say they won't do it...personally can't stand to see an oldster in pain because the owner will not give him an aspirin equivelant...and alot of these seniors want to keep working and are miserable when they are not. So help 'em out a little.

    I agree with this too . I wish Gus tolerated bute... but fortunately for him another (non-"drug") supplement works wonders for him. I keep the Previcox around for if he needs something "extra" and it doesn't seem to cause the same issues like it's bute counterpart did.
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog
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  5. #5
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    I care for an oldster who is 29 years old, and has been on daily bute for about 5 years now. Anywhere from 1g to 2g daily, right now he's on 1.5g daily. Never had any issues, but he also has something to eat in front of him the vast majority of the time. It has helped a ton with him, and it was also vet prescribed.

    However, I'd be a bit wary of horses under 20 regularly getting bute. Maybe one or two horses, but a lot of them at one barn would have me wondering a bit. Really, depending on the horse's history and management, a teenaged horse is NOT old.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  6. #6
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    My 22 yo TB mare is on a gram of bute a day, and has been for the last 2 years.

    She has arthritis in her hocks and ankles, not severe, but enough that she's not sound. The bute has made a tremendous difference in her quality of life.

    She has a history of ulcers, but thankfully we have not had any problems. I moved her to a quiet private farm which got the ulcers under control before we started the daily bute. She gets nervous and that caused the ulcers.

    If she were younger, I would have been a little more hesitant to jump on the bute a day bandwagon, but I want her last years to be happy and comfortable, and luckily bute gives us that opportunity. I know she's not sound, as she does require a gram a day to be sound... but she looks great, and feels great.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    However, I'd be a bit wary of horses under 20 regularly getting bute. Maybe one or two horses, but a lot of them at one barn would have me wondering a bit. Really, depending on the horse's history and management, a teenaged horse is NOT old.
    Well maybe we can agree to disagree but YES they are old in late teens. If they were not, the insurance would still offer medical coverage. If it was a good bet, they would offer it and make more money off of us-it must not be a good bet, based on statistics, because they don't past age 18. Those few that offer some kind of limited coverage have low coverage limits and very high premiums. Which should support the fact they think they may have to pay off.

    I don't think there is a magic age where you would be automatically suspicious...but it sure is not late teens.

    Awful lot of them retire around this time or get the work way reduced, and get some help if they do keep going a bit. I just was reading the average age of retirement from high level competition is around 16 or 17 and I am around many that had to stop all competition at about age 18.

    Have no idea but would guess the average lifespan is around 25 or so. That's a ton better then when I was a kid but still not so many years ahead for a late teener horse.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    Well maybe we can agree to disagree but YES they are old in late teens. If they were not, the insurance would still offer medical coverage. If it was a good bet, they would offer it and make more money off of us-it must not be a good bet, based on statistics, because they don't past age 18. Those few that offer some kind of limited coverage have low coverage limits and very high premiums. Which should support the fact they think they may have to pay off.

    I don't think there is a magic age where you would be automatically suspicious...but it sure is not late teens.

    Awful lot of them retire around this time or get the work way reduced, and get some help if they do keep going a bit. I just was reading the average age of retirement from high level competition is around 16 or 17 and I am around many that had to stop all competition at about age 18.

    Have no idea but would guess the average lifespan is around 25 or so. That's a ton better then when I was a kid but still not so many years ahead for a late teener horse.
    There's a huge difference between retiring a horse and a horse who now requires daily bute to be pasture sound. In my own personal opinion, a horse should be retired WELL before they hit the "daily bute time" mark.

    But that's just my own perspective on the subject. My oldster is still doing well at 29, and has been retired from serious work for about 8 years or so. He was ridden lightly until about 24. Now he's living the retired life with no riding at all.. and he loves it.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  9. #9
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    The Princess (a mini-pony cross) gets a dusting of orange-flavored bute powder on her soaked pellets twice a day - maybe a total of 1/4 g per day??

    It seems to help her move around better, and my vet feels (and I agree) that at her (unknown, but clearly advanced) age, better to keep her comfy and risk taking some time off the end of her life if her kidneys burn out than to let her live longer, but in pain.
    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    Well maybe we can agree to disagree but YES they are old in late teens.
    Oh my. Well, ok. Teens might be old to you but it sure isn't to me. My friend's 26 year old mare rides about 30 trail miles a week, and when that mare lights up the engines, look out. She can gallop with the best of them and my 6 year old trots to keep up with her walk.

    I ride with and trim LOTS of horses that are older than say 15 and they're still in full work, competing, going great.

    We lost our OTTB mare at 22 and I thought she was so young, it was pity. There are lots of horses living into their 30s now, thanks to good medical care and diet, plus carefully metered exercise.

    To my knowledge, it's mostly AQHA land where hores are in the futurities at 2, winning all the championships at 5 with the help of hock injections, aged at 7, and retired by 12.

    Aren't the SRS Lipizzaners working well into their 20s? I went to one of the "generic knock off shows" and they said their "baby" stallion in the group was 10. All the others were teens and 20s! And these animals are doing aires above the ground for pete sake!



  11. #11
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    To add information to my original post- the older horses on bute were former "performance" horses-by that I mean they formerly had full careers doing A and AA shows and now had less competative jobs.
    My question really related to my aged former A/O horse who when I give a gram of bute to- feels alot more comfortable. I have only used bute for short term issues, never on a continuous basis but was thinking of it when I saw these other horses.

    thanks for all opinions
    Last edited by Trees4U; Jul. 27, 2009 at 07:56 AM.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trees4U View Post
    To add information to my original post- the older horses on bute were former "performance" horses-by that I mean they formerly had full careers doing A and A/A shows and now had less competative jobs.
    My question really related to my aged former A/O horse who when I give a gram of bute to- feels alot more comfortable. I have only used bute for short term issues, never on a continuous basis but was thinking of it when I saw these other horses.

    thanks for all opinions
    I kind of consider daily bute long-term a last resort.. after Adequan/Legend, joint injections to make the horse more comfortable, etc. Just my opinion.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    I kind of consider daily bute long-term a last resort.. after Adequan/Legend, joint injections to make the horse more comfortable, etc. Just my opinion.
    As a Nurse in a large Equine hospital, I have to say I see a lot more daily bute prescribed for aches and pains in older horses rather than joint injections-- each and every time you go into a joint you risk serious infection.
    If you have ever seen the pain an infected joint puts onto an oldster's face, and had to watch him struggle painfully with the daily task of just getting up and down that should come easily to him, all because someone stuck a needle into his joint, perhaps you would feel a little Bute never really hurt anyone.
    JMHO
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkdiamondracing View Post
    As a Nurse in a large Equine hospital, I have to say I see a lot more daily bute prescribed for aches and pains in older horses rather than joint injections-- each and every time you go into a joint you risk serious infection.
    If you have ever seen the pain an infected joint puts onto an oldster's face, and had to watch him struggle painfully with the daily task of just getting up and down that should come easily to him, all because someone stuck a needle into his joint, perhaps you would feel a little Bute never really hurt anyone.
    JMHO
    If the vet does the injection correctly, the risk for infection is minimal.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  15. #15
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    Yup. I fed 1g bute every-other-day to my first horse who had chronic sidebone for... 8 or 9 years? As far as I know, she continued that regimen until she died, 5 or 6 years after she went on to be another little girl's first horse.

    No, we didn't know much about ulcers then, but she was fat, happy, shiny and comfortable. She'd very rarely have an ouchy day, and we'd often give her an extra gram the day before and day after (so, 3 days in a row) for shows and such... (no jumping, just 4H stuff)

    I have chronic pain. I am much happier, and more mobile, with a daily dose of anti-inflams that aren't all that great for me. It's a quality of life thing though.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    If the vet does the injection correctly, the risk for infection is minimal.
    Any time you tap into a joint you run a risk of infection. Whether you think it's minimal or not, that's not something to be taken lightly and as horses age it's harder and harder to get into some joints making the risk higher. I've seen septic joints and it's not something I'd take a risk on if I don't really have to. Older horses can do just fine on a gram of Bute a day without being poked and prodded.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    If the vet does the injection correctly, the risk for infection is minimal.
    Minimal, but never non-existant.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghazzu View Post
    Minimal, but never non-existant.
    That's why I said minimal and not non-existent..
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    That's why I said minimal and not non-existent..
    Yabbut "minimal" becomes somewhat irrelevant when your one horse is the one in one thousand it happens to.

    Not saying that joint injections aren't a valuable tool.
    Just that it's a good idea to remember they aren't without an inherent risk.

    And in the context of this thread, if you have an old horse with multiple joints that are arthritic, it might well be a moot point--you can't inject everything.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  20. #20
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    We only had one horse on bute for two years, he had ringbone in one foot from an injury and on bute his quality of life was fine, without it he was dead lame.
    He didn't have any side effects from it, maybe because we feed alfalfa, which may act as a buffer.
    Eventually the bute quit working and the vet euthanized him.

    Right now, we have a 19 and 29 year old and neither needs bute, they are fine, the old one not as fast and quick to get around, still he is definitely not lame or sore.

    I say that we need to see each horse as an individual, not go by age or what other horses do or don't need.

    If most of a barn was on bute, I too would check with the vet, to be sure it was really necessary.



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