Bute For Horses

Last updated on March 22nd, 2023 at 03:08 am

Bute For Horses

When it comes to the medication of our animals, steroids can be an important medication for dealing with a myriad of different issues. They are most often prescribed to deal with pain, but as there are different kinds of steroids, they can be used to treat different issues. Your horse may end up getting prescribed steroids when it is dealing with certain health issues.

One of these steroids is bute.

Keep reading to learn more about the steroid we refer to as bute, including what it can be prescribed to treat in your horse, as well as how and how much of it to administer when your horse needs it!

What Is Bute?

Bute is the shortened name for the steroid we will be discussing today. It is also known by the label Phenylbutazone. This particular steroid is considered to be an anti inflammatory medication and a pain reliever, and is one of the common prescription drugs or prescription steroids that vets prescribe to horses. Bute belongs to a group of drugs known as NSAIDs, which is an acronym for non steroidal anti inflammatory drug. It also comes in three different forms— the powder and paste form can be administered by the owner, while the injectable form is typically administered by a licensed vet. We will go over more details on administering bute further on in this article.  

What Does Bute Do For Your Horse?

As we mentioned above, bute is a steroid that is used for anti inflammatory and pain management purposes. It is often prescribed to deal with the pain that is linked to issues in horses such as lameness, arthritis, musculoskeletal injuries, and navicular syndrome. Its effects and purpose can be compared to that of Motrin for humans, for an example! It is meant to provide temporary relief and to aid in your horse’s healing process. It is not, however, meant for continued use. This is a short term medication and could cause issues if it was used in a long term capacity. 

How Much Bute Should You Give Your Horse?

When your vet prescribes bute, it is very important to follow their instructions and prescription, as bute does have some side effects. As an NSAID, this is to be expected, and is why it is important to weigh the pros and cons of a steroid before introducing it to your horse. Some side effects can include kidney and liver damage or gastric ulceration. Less common is the side effect of colitis as well.

Bute comes in a few different forms, which makes it easier to administer to your horse. It can come in paste or powder form, which you are able to easily administer or can add to your horse’s daily food. It also comes as an injection, which would typically need to be administered by your horse’s vet. Bute is usually prescribed for short periods of time, as we mentioned previously. Depending upon the issue and level of pain that is being treated, the steroid may be prescribed from anywhere between 5 and 10 days. You will usually start to see results within the first few days. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a prescription for Bute for horses?

Bute is a drug that cannot be purchased without a prescription from your vet. It is a prescription drug, so if you feel that you need bute for your horse, you will need to discuss with your vet in order to get the drug and the prescription. It is a common non steroidal anti inflammatory drug, or NSAID for short, that is prescribed to horses by vets. 

How long can a horse stay on Bute?

Bute can come in a few different forms when it is prescribed for your horse, and this certainly makes it easier to administer the steroid to your horse as prescribed. It can come in a powder form that you can easily add to their feed, an oral paste, or an injection. However, bute is not something that you can expect your horse to stay on long term— it is not like a supplement that you can add to your horse’s diet for long term purposes. It is instead only meant for short term treatment. This is because bute can end up having detrimental effects on your horse if used for too long. This is why bute is typically used or prescribed for periods of time between 5 and 10 days. The severity of the pain being treated will also dictate the dosage and length of time that bute is prescribed for. 

What are the side effects of Bute for horses?

Just as with other medicines, steroids, or additions to your horse’s diet, there are some potential side effects that can arise from administering the bute steroid to your horse. Sometimes, these side effects can occur if you try to use bute as a long term medication rather than short term, as it is intended. When, or if, your horse starts to see side effects with bute, you should contact your vet and stop giving your horse the treatment in the meantime. Some of these potential side effects include kidney and liver damage or gastric ulceration. Another potential side effect of bute is colitis. However, colitis occurs less commonly as its appearance usually only happens after much higher doses of bute than is typically prescribed. 

How long does it take for Bute to kick in?

You may also wonder how long this steroid starts to take effect once you administer it to your horse. After all, the steroid is usually prescribed to treat pain, and we do not want our equine partners to be uncomfortable! When bute is administered orally, by paste or powder form in your horse’s food, it typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes for the effects of the steroid to begin to kick in. Its peak effectiveness, though, is at around 6 hours from the time that the steroid is administered. Then, after this, effectiveness will begin to drop again over time.