Can Botox Help Painful Joints in Horses?

Using eight sound horses, researchers from Brazil examined the safety of an intraarticular injection of botulinum toxin type A (botox) as a possible treatment for joint pain. This controlled study compared the carpal joint of a botox treated limb with that of the opposite limb treated with a saline injection as a control.

After monitoring daily for 7 days following the injections, no adverse reactions were noted in any of the horses or the limbs treated with botox. There was no increased joint pain or swelling, lameness was only noted in the limbs treated with saline and synovial fluid samples were comparable between treated and control limbs.

Although more work is needed to examine the efficacy of botox for treating conditions like arthritis pain, this study suggests it will be safe to do this research in horses, and it could be a safe treatment for joint pain.

— Beck Junior AA et al. JEVS 2022;110:103865

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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