What is Bute? What is Banamine? When do you use them, what is the difference, how much do you give, how often? These are questions that have gone through my mind and it wasn’t until I actually needed these drugs that I learned about them. When you have a horse in pain you want to be able to alleviate that pain as quickly as possible.
Phenylbutazone (Butazolodine, or “Bute”) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used for relief of pain from infections and musculoskeletal disorders such as sprains, strains, tendinitis, arthritis and laminitis. It is most commonly administered as an oral paste and should be given under the advice of a veterinarian. It also comes in the injectible form but must be injected only in a vein, not in a muscle as it will cause the muscle to break down.
The maximum dosage is 2 to 4 grams per 1,000 lbs of body weight per day and is best given half in the morning and half at night. Overdose or prolonged use can cause ulcers or kidney damage.
NOTE: Bute does not work for colic pain.
Banamine (Flunixin Meglumine) is also an NSAID and can also be used for inflammation and pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders, but is most commonly used for pain associated with colic as it is about 4 times stronger than Bute.
Banamine needs to be administered by a veterinarian and can be injected either into a vein or in a muscle, but reaction time is far quicker by way of a vein.
None of us ever want to have to use these drugs, but it’s nice to know that there’s something out there to provide relief for our horses.