You guys are awesome, thank you so much for looking after Taruni. - Sue from Greenbank
Phenylbutazone (aka Bute) is a prescription anti-inflammatory medicine which can be highly effective, but if used inappropriately, can be very dangerous.
This is a drug which can have many side effects if used improperly, some of these include:
- Bute can be unsafe at high levels over extended periods of time
- Bute can cause gastric & colonic ulcers
- Young, old and ill horses are sometimes unable to process the drug, accumulating toxic levels of it
- Bute is wonderful in masking pain, though this can work against us. For example say an owner used bute to treat their horse’s lameness, when the cause for their horse’s pain was a fracture. Conditions such as fractures can then become lethal if left untreated
- If intravenous bute is accidentally injected into the muscle severe tissue damage can occur
- Some people give bute if their horse is colicing. This may not fix the colic, but it masks the pain and lessens the parameters your vet will use to assess the severity of the colic. This subsequently may affect the treatment plan, and may result in the horse’s death.
- if bute is administered improperly to a condition, masking the deterioration may mean that you don’t call the vet out until your horse’s condition has severely deteriorated, which subsequently may affect its chances of recovery.Because it is a prescription product, it is illegal for us to supply bute without assessing the animal’s condition. If we were to simply hand over the bute without seeing the horse and the horse died or their condition worsened as a result of us not seeing it, we would not only be held liable, but our vet would lose their licence to practise veterinary medicine. This is clearly an unfavourable outcome, both for us and for your poor horse who suffered due to an improper treatment.
So you see, there are many factors which make us unwilling to just hand out bute to any client, regardless of their horse experience or belief in their own diagnosis of the horse’s condition.