A Table Topic at the 2010 American Association of Equine Practitioners Annual Meeting, held Dec. 4-8 in Baltimore, Md., addressed medical pain management. Attendees agreed that the mainstay of pain management in the horse remains the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone, flunixen meglumine, and a newer entry, firocoxib. Participants reported relatively few instances of clinically apparent toxic side effects associated with the use of phenylbutazone and flunixen. They discussed the potential for reduced toxicity with firocoxib as well as its use in compromised horses and foals. When asked, participants indicated the need for more research in the area of providing analgesia for long-term conditions such as chronic laminitis, particularly when the pain is not controlled with nonsteroidal drugs. The use of a number of opioids, ketamine, lidocaine, and alpha-2 agonists was discussed as potential therapies.
This session was moderated by Debra Sellon, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, a professor of Equine Medicine at Washington State University, and John Hubbell, DVM, MS, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at The Ohio State University.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.