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The information, ideas and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Firocoxib, a member of the coxib class of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), has recently been released in a paste formulation for horses under the trade name Equioxx.
These new NSAIDs called coxibs only inhibit inflammatory COX-2 enzymes, unlike traditional NSAIDS like phenylbutazone which inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. This may be an advantage because it is COX-1 inhibition that is thought to cause undesirable side effects such as stomach ulcers.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 253 horses with naturally occurring arthritis to compare the effectiveness and safety of firocoxib with phenylbutazone (bute) at typical doses given once a day as an oral paste. Following a diagnosis of chronic lameness attributable to arthritis or navicular syndrome, lameness was scored and evaluated at four time points over a two-week period by the same veterinarian who was blinded to the identity of the treatment.
The proportion of horses with improved lameness scores on day 14 was similar for both treatments. Firocoxib-treated horses showed greater improvement on manipulation or palpation, joint circumference and range of motion. No adverse effects were detected in either group during the course of the study.
With comparable efficacy, less risk for side effects and acceptable ease of administration and palatability, paste formulations of firocoxib are promising new alternatives…