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Long term use of anti-inflammatories?

Horse Management Thread, Long term use of anti-inflammatories? in Horses and Ponies; Hi everyone, I'm new and I hope you will take the time to read my story, and hopefully you guys ...
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Old 13-05-2009, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Long term use of anti-inflammatories?

Hi everyone,

I'm new and I hope you will take the time to read my story, and hopefully you guys can help out. I'm located near Wagga Wagga, NSW. A mixture of Aust. Riding Pony x Arab, pure Arab, standard breds, welshies, minis and shetlands make up our funny little licorice allsorts herd (oh, plus one donkey - how could I forget the donkey!). The larger ponies and horses are used for stock work, we drive the smaller ones just for pleasure. Also breed almost all of them.

The reason I'm here asking questions is actually for a goat, not a horse. Charlotte (the harlot) is 2 yrs old and I've been battling with her for the last week or so with a pretty severe problem. She had a caesarian about 6 mths ago which she recovered from without any more problems. About a week ago I noticed she was having difficulty passing urine. Basically, after A LOT of vet visits we have established that for some reason or another, the urethra has become constricted which is why she struggles to urinate. After speaking with a goat specialist, surgery is not an option.

She is currently on Flunixil (flunixin meglumine) and that has worked wonders! She is a normal goat while she is on it - passes urine without problems, eats, drinks, plays etc. I've been outside doing fences all day with her tagging along helping me, munching on grass and running around and kicking her feet up like a little kid. she feels so good she came into season the other day, and was tarting up and down parading along the buck fence.

The problem is that Flunixil is known to cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure, and so my vet is reluctant to prescribe more than a few days worth of it. And after about 36 hrs off the Flunixil, she starts going downhill rapidly again.

The way I see it, I have four options:

1) Keep her on the Flunixil (not good due to the stomach ulcer/kidney failure deal)
2) Take her off the Flunixil (not good cos she'll rupture her bladder and die)
3) Find an alternative anti-inflammatory which is safer for long term use
4) Euthanase

Option (3) is where you guys come in. Basically, my way of thinking is that there has to be an anti-inflammatory drug used long-term in horses, dogs or cats, that might help out my girl. I'm not sure how long term we are looking at, it may be that she will need it for the rest of her life, which could be 8 to 10 years.

A friend has suggested bute but I dont know much about anti-inflammatories, I'm open to all suggestions. What I'd like to know is any possible drugs which could be used, the relative safety of them for long term use, how you administer them, whether you can breed with the animal while using the drug, etc.

I am reluctant to euthanase, because I know she can be normal while on the drug, and I can see the potential if only I can find another drug that will do the same, while being safer. money and time is not an issue with this animal.

Here's my girl:

Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me
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Old 13-05-2009, 05:20 PM   #2
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wow pacgio what a great history!
although i'm not a goat vet,my initial thoughts would be that bute might be a viable alternative as has less gastrointesitnal ulceration potential than flunixil.however,goats are ruminants nonetheless so would expect to metabolise along similar lines to cattle & sheep,so it might be worth your while to contact your local vet med uni to ask the question.in my notes i can only ever find dosage short term,which does not help you.good luck.
ps my favourite goat friend on here, nannygoat, may have had experience with long term bute on goats....
a closed mouth gathers no foot.....
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Old 13-05-2009, 05:53 PM   #3
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hi beagle, thank you very much for your input. I will definitely be discussing possible alternatives with my vet, she will be re-evaluated on Saturday. In the meantime I'm trying to dig up as much information as possible.

My vet isnt a goat vet either - but she does her best and that is all I ask of her. She does a fantastic job, and often spends time researching my problems. We have been in contact with Sydney Uni as they have a goat specialist team, and we can ask them about the bute also.

My gut feeling is that there wont be many recorded cases of long term bute use in ruminants ... given that ruminants more often than not are viewed as livestock not as companion animals, and so most owners and vets would go for the euthanasia option. Most people wouldnt have even gone as far as I have. To me she is livestock but also more than that - I have a stud and many goats, and not all of them would get this treatment (not many of them actually) but she is my first registered doe, the first of my own breeding, my first truly successful show goat, and a real pet also. She's a bit special.

I forgot to mention in that first post, I also train goats to drive in harness, and carry packs! (I'm leading these guys here we were giving rides at a vet open day, but they do actually drive just like minis)

But, I'm getting side tracked here - back to the original question!

Last edited by Pacqio; 13-05-2009 at 05:59 PM. Reason: fixed the photo links
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Old 13-05-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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There are many newer generation non-steroidal anti-inflammatories used in cats and dogs which are much safer to use long term. They are mostly not used in horses because they are cost-prohibitive (and for that reason they have not been widely studied in that species). However, they are slowly emerging, especially in the US. It would probably not be that expensive to use these ona goat but I guess you need to have some idea of their safety margin in goats.

Getting in touch with universities (in Australia and overseas) as well as maybe drug companies may be a good option to find out more info. There is a great websites that vets have access to (for a $500 annual fee) called "Veterinary Information Network". They usually have the latest info on there. I will try and have a look for you next time I'm at work.

I know at Murdoch they use Sheep to study arthritis so I imagine they probably use pain relief for them. Maybe get in touch with them also.

Also, are you sure it is the urethra that is the problem? Ie. have you had an ultrasound done? Cats get lower urinary problems where they get spasms in the urethra and inflammation in the bladder and have similar signs. There is a variety of treatments utilised in cats that may be worth a try.
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Old 13-05-2009, 06:39 PM   #5
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Default Alternatives

Raw devils claw root

German Chamomile Essential oil

Both are good anti inflamatories, german chamomile is expensive but highly effective.

Devils claw root is also a digestive aid and doesn't have the effect on the stomach. But don't buy the liquid form, research and buy the dried root form.

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Old 13-05-2009, 07:38 PM   #6
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astraia, when the problem first appeared, we took urine samples and sent them off, lab analysis confirmed there was no infection. We then ultrasounded the bladder for stones, because that is a pretty big deal in goats (though more so in males). Couldnt find any stones. We were trying to catheterise her simply to drain the bladder and buy ourselves some more time to figure out what was wrong. But we couldnt pass the catheter, it would go in about an inch then hit something and bend. We even tried a tom cat catheter with no success. When we consulted the goat specialist he agreed that it was likely scar tissue from the caesar - she also had some pretty nasty uterine and vaginal tears.
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Old 13-05-2009, 08:01 PM   #7
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Another option may be Meloxicam. A new version registered for foals has just been released.

Im in the same boat as beagle....not a goat vet, but Meloxicam would certainly have a lower risk of causing GI ulceration and renal failure.

In these situations where animals have a severe condition my theory is which is the worse evil?? IMHO the long term effects of NSAIDS are definitely the lesser evil in her situation.

Good luck with your gorgeous goat!
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Old 13-05-2009, 08:51 PM   #8
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Thank you VERY much

More questions, sorry with NSAIDS from my quick research (which is nothing more than googling at this point) seems the common side effects are gastrointestinal and liver and kidney problems. How common are these side effects ... what percentage of animals on the drugs long term will get these problems ... or what probability is there that they will develop these problems? Sorry I'm not wording that very well but I hope you understand what I mean ...

Also, what sort of time frame would you expect those things to occur? What are the symptoms to watch out for? And is there something you can give along with the NSAIDS to prevent it?

can some of the drugs be used for breeding animals?

What sort of cost are involved (ballpark figure)? I'd be hoping to use a paste for oral dosing, or injections would be another option (doesnt bother her really, she's very well behaved for the flunixil injections, just stands there. The TetraVet she was on earlier was a WHOLE different story lol)

I know these are very broad questions, and dont worry they will definitely all be discussed with my vet, I just appreciate having a wide range of opinions (particularly when until I found this board, alot of friends and family members were just telling me to euthanase her).

The pictures of her in my first post were taken today, after 24hrs on Flunixil, after having been off the Flunixil for 48 hrs. You probably cant tell because you dont know her, but her eyes are just so much brighter here and her face is her normal, happy go lucky self. I didnt get a photo when she was off the Flunixil but it certainly wasnt like this.
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Old 13-05-2009, 10:02 PM   #9
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Most of the animals I have been treating who have had side effects are older animals who probably had a degree of renal insufficiency to start with. The two I can think of were both offered blood screening prior to starting NSAIDS but the owner declined

Came across two horses during my internship who developed right dorsal colitis (permenant ulceration/thickening of the right dorsal colon) after a 5 day course of bute.

Have only had one dog who started vomitting blood after being on medium term NSAIDS (had a fractured pelvis). He was treated and was just fine

HOWEVER....this is dogs and cats... goats are a completely different kettle of fish.

As far as price. Generally, the safer the NSAID the higher the cost. Bute and flunixin being the least safe and cheapest, Previcox/Deramaxx being the most safe and most expensive.
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Old 14-05-2009, 07:14 AM   #10
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Would a uretheral extension help you think?
I know they do them in horses and correct alot of things by extending the tubing and removing some lacerations that might have happened during foaling. It also stops urine pooling or running back towards the uterous.

Or Utheral graft?

Also common asprin might help. Its a good anti-inflammatory and with a smaller maintenance dose might be more gentle on the stomach lining?

Also it might help to do the cathater while she is doing well on the meds...might have better chances of getting it in while there is no inflamation?

Would love you to keep us posted!
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