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Bute--how long does it take to cause tummy issues?

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  • Bute--how long does it take to cause tummy issues?

    I've wondered this for awhile. When my horse was on stall rest and antibiotics for 2 weeks, we had him on ulcergard. Now we have a horse on stall rest (day 11 of an undetermined amount of time). Vet had her on bute for about 5 days, 1g twice a day. Vets are now hesitant to keep her on it unless fever is above 102. She has stomach issues (diarrhea) due to antibiotics while she was on bute. A different vet smirked/chuckled and said "new vets hah" when he heard our vets didn't want to continue too much regular bute. How much regular bute causes tummy issues or ulcers?

    Fwiw, horse had cellulitis then blew a monster abscess, which keeps getting bigger. It is draining and she is lame, but in little pain.
    Last edited by AliCat518; Jun. 7, 2012, 10:55 PM.
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

  • #2
    I have seen horses on four grams a day for literally years with no apparent issues while other horses will go off their feed and act uncomfortable after one gram. No hard and fast rules.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      It really depends on a lot of things: how much acid, gastric motility, how resistant the mucosa is to acid, diet, cortisol levels, etc.

      If I'm using bute for more than 2-3 days in a row, I break out the pop rocks.
      Click here before you buy.


      • Original Poster

        As far as her stomach, she's getting little grass, maybe 20 min hand grazing a day. Free choice hay in the stall. Clean fresh water. Other than that, nada. I suggested putting her on a ration balancer or a complete feed for now, so we might do that. We will also pick up some probiotics tomorrow since the antibiotics are killing all the bacteria in her tummy.
        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


        • #5
          As little as 2 doses of bute can cause ulcers.


          • #6
            I had a horse that would colic on one gram -- so I am always leery. But my mare has been on banamine 5cc/day for 12 days now due to her fracture.

            Does the same logic apply to banamine?



            • #7
              It seems like if I just THINK about using bute on my horse, she goes off her feed and gets cranky. Same with even one dose of banamine.

              Although I've also had another that was on two grams of bute every day for forever and never showed any sort of side effect.

              Totally depends on the horse.


              • #8
                I watched by TB basically lay down and lose 200lbs right before my eyes after only 2-3 days on bute. Given that she was a hard keeper in the first place, this was devastating and took months to get her back to her proper weight. I have equally known others on it for more than a week with no obvious side effects. However, I now only give bute if it is bordering on life and death as I don't feel it is worth the risk. If the horse is in severe pain, I would probably find something other than bute to help. If the pain isn't severe, I want to be able to track it so I know if the horse is getting better or worse. I follow the same principals with myself and my other pets - I often think the side effects of many medications are worse than whatever the medication is supposed to be "fixing".


                • #9
                  It really depends on the horse. Mine have all been fine on it. I did horse sit for one horse that would go off of his feed on 1 gm of bute, so the owner had me use banamine for him. Otherwise, I had a 34 year old mare who went for a couple of years on 1 gm a day because it was the only thing that worked for her arthritis. No problems. I now have an 18 year old draft horse on 1.5 gm a day for an old suspensory injury to keep him comfortable. He is fat, happy and not having any problems, either. The vet says he could easily tolerate 4 grams a day. If you are worried about it, I would try the buteless products first.

                  ETA: All of my horses have been/are on Uckele's AbsorbAll daily to keep their guts in good shape (prebiotic/probiotic/microbials/digestive enzymes). It also takes care of bloating, diarrhea, etc. I used it on a horse with 70 percent of his small intestine removed to help keep the weight on. It worked magnificently! It may be the reason the bute is not a problem, and it also keeps the diarrhea at bay during antibiotic use. Each horse receives 1/2 scoop daily. If the AbsorbAll is not on hand, I use Probios.
                  "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                  • #10
                    When my horse was at the vet hospital for two weeks last year I insisted on daily gastrogard. He never showed clinical signs of ulcers but was a little different on bute which made me concerned so I went with gastrogard. He has no issues with previcoxx though, no side effects ever.


                    • #11
                      It sounds like the horse in question already has some tummy issues (either from bute or other medications, or medical issues). In that case, I would be hesitant to keep the horse on bute.
                      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                      • #12
                        I like Equioxx too


                        • #13
                          I second the use of Equioxx or Previcox. I have horses that have been on one or the other for YEARS without a stomach/ulcer issue.


                          • #14
                            Sorry long. I’ve had horses on bute for at least 2 weeks with no ill effect & lately I had a horse that due to the 2 other colics in front of her colic vet appointment was given 10mls of bute. She was trying to roll, sweating up a storm and in lal land from the pain. Once the bute kicked in it was almost embarrassing as she didn’t look like a colicing horse (didn’t drink due to cold snap). BTW was treated for colic. Not suggesting bute is the be all and end all as actually it took her 4 days to get back to normal (with all other drugs etc administered) just atleast short term not something I would worry about. BTW the mare in question also doesn’t like molasses in her water (What the), runs away at the site of a wormer & won't drink if you put bute via syringe in her mouth ... until her none that I’ve had have ever been so painful. I guess my point is that I would really wouldn't question the effects of bute given to horses but more why an issue occurred when giving it in a short term basis. Short term I think of atleast a month or two.


                            • #15
                              Seems like it really is an individual horse thing. I've had horses on bute for weeks as therapy from leg injuries with no problem. Years ago I observed a necropsy of a medium pony that was euthanized due to complications from founder. The previous vet prescribed 3 grams of bute a day and the pony had been on it for 3 weeks and her liver was shot- bleeding out- among other internal organ problems associated with the bute.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by leheath View Post
                                I watched by TB basically lay down and lose 200lbs right before my eyes after only 2-3 days on bute.".
                                That's exactly what our Morgan did after three days on bute for a leg injury two years ago. He won't ever be buted again, that was awful- took months for him to get his weight back.


                                • #17
                                  People can die after a single dose of penicillin. Doesn't mean penicillin is a bad drug. Every horse is an individual, and every situation where bute might be called for deserves a thoughtful assessment of the pros and cons.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    Well said deltawave!

                                    A little pharmacology to think about too:
                                    Bute, naproxen (Aleve), banamine, ibuprofen(for us non-equines) all belong to a category of medications known as NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs work by blocking COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which are both involved in several pathways within the body. COX-1 is partly responsible for GI protection in the body and COX-2 accounts for the pain associated with inflammation. Just like some people do better on Ibuprofen versus naproxen, some horses do better on bute vs banamine or in my guy's case, naproxen!

                                    Previcox and Equioxx are both brand names for the drug, Firocoxib. Firocoxib and Celecoxib(Celebrex for us non-equines) are COX-2 selective inhibitors and usually have a lesser role in stomach irritation because they don't block COX-1. That being said, they do not perfectly avoid COX-1 completely so some people/horses may experience some GI side effects (though usually to a lesser degree than an NSAID)- again it's all about individual response. COX-2 selective inhibitors are somewhat of a hot topic in the human drug world.

                                    In other fun news, there's a drug in the human world right now called "Vimovo" which combines naproxen and esomeprazole in one tablet- though it's absurdly expensive.


                                    • #19
                                      There's also Arthrotec, which is a combo of an NSAID and misoprostol, which does a very nice job protecting the stomach. Also stupidly expensive, even though both ingredients are generic.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        Not the op but thanks for the info really appreciated.