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Use of force plate analysis to compare the analgesic effects of intravenous administration of phenylbutazone and flunixin meglumine in horses with navicular syndrome

Ronald S. ErkertDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Charles G. MacAllisterDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Mark E. PaytonDepartment of Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Cyril R. ClarkeDepartment of Physiological Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078.

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Abstract

Objective—To use force plate analysis to evaluate the analgesic efficacies of flunixin meglumine and phenylbutazone administered IV at typical clinical doses in horses with navicular syndrome.

Animals—12 horses with navicular syndrome that were otherwise clinically normal.

Procedure—Horses received flunixin (1.1 mg/kg), phenylbutazone (4.4 mg/kg), or physiologic saline (0.9% NaCl; 1 mL/45 kg) solution administered IV once daily for 4 days with a 14-day washout period between treatments (3 treatments/horse). Before beginning treatment (baseline) and 6, 12, 24, and 30 hours after the fourth dose of each treatment, horses were evaluated by use of the American Association of Equine Practitioners lameness scoring system (half scores permitted) and peak vertical force of the forelimbs was measured via a force plate.

Results—At 6, 12, and 24 hours after the fourth treatment, subjective lameness evaluations and force plate data indicated significant improvement in lameness from baseline values in horses treated with flunixin or phenylbutazone, compared with control horses; at those time points, the assessed variables in flunixin- or phenylbutazone-treated horses were not significantly different.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses with navicular syndrome treated once daily for 4 days, typical clinical doses of flunixin and phenylbutazone resulted in similar significant improvement in lameness at 6, 12, and 24 hours after the final dose, compared with findings in horses treated with saline solution. The effect of flunixin or phenylbutazone was maintained for at least 24 hours. Flunixin meglumine and phenylbutazone appear to have similar analgesic effects in horses with navicular syndrome. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:284–288)

Abstract

Objective—To use force plate analysis to evaluate the analgesic efficacies of flunixin meglumine and phenylbutazone administered IV at typical clinical doses in horses with navicular syndrome.

Animals—12 horses with navicular syndrome that were otherwise clinically normal.

Procedure—Horses received flunixin (1.1 mg/kg), phenylbutazone (4.4 mg/kg), or physiologic saline (0.9% NaCl; 1 mL/45 kg) solution administered IV once daily for 4 days with a 14-day washout period between treatments (3 treatments/horse). Before beginning treatment (baseline) and 6, 12, 24, and 30 hours after the fourth dose of each treatment, horses were evaluated by use of the American Association of Equine Practitioners lameness scoring system (half scores permitted) and peak vertical force of the forelimbs was measured via a force plate.

Results—At 6, 12, and 24 hours after the fourth treatment, subjective lameness evaluations and force plate data indicated significant improvement in lameness from baseline values in horses treated with flunixin or phenylbutazone, compared with control horses; at those time points, the assessed variables in flunixin- or phenylbutazone-treated horses were not significantly different.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses with navicular syndrome treated once daily for 4 days, typical clinical doses of flunixin and phenylbutazone resulted in similar significant improvement in lameness at 6, 12, and 24 hours after the final dose, compared with findings in horses treated with saline solution. The effect of flunixin or phenylbutazone was maintained for at least 24 hours. Flunixin meglumine and phenylbutazone appear to have similar analgesic effects in horses with navicular syndrome. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:284–288)