Bute For Horses, Its Uses, and Its Side Effects

Jessica McDaniel
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What is Bute for Horses?

Bute is an injectable drug that is primarily used for treating musculoskeletal issues in horses. As a medication with a potent analgesic property, it’s a popular choice of horse owners when dealing with various conditions, ranging from minor injuries to more serious, long-term conditions (such as arthritis). While having an understanding of how this drug works and why this drug is so popular among horse owners is crucial, it’s just as important to understand the basics, such as when you might need to use it, what your vet needs to know before administering it, and its possible side effects.

What Is Bute For Horses Used For?

Bute for horses is given to horses to relieve pain associated with inflammation and muscular injury. Bute (pronounced boo-tee) is also known as phenylbutazone. It has analgesic and antipyretic effects.

Bute for horses is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that suppresses the immune system.

The way bute works in horses is actually similar to how it works in humans. When horses are given bute, it contains free radicals that kill the white blood cells. It is these white blood cells that aid in healing; however, when there are too many of them, they cause painful swelling and inflammation. By killing off the white blood cells, bute provides the horse with pain relief without negatively affecting the healing process.

When the white blood cells are eliminated, the white blood cell count decreases; this keeps the healing process intact, but decreases the risk of infection. As the immune system is suppressed, horses do not produce antibodies to fight off infection. However, this effect is not significant enough to cause a horse to become sick.

Soreness in the back or a pulled muscle can cause great discomfort in horses. Bute for horses is a common remedy