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Meclofenamate for Horse

By Barbara Forney, VMD

Commonly prescribed for: Acute and Chronic Inflammation of the Musculoskeletal System

Species: Horse

Therapeutic Class: Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID)


Basic Information

Horses

Meclofenamate is used to treat acute and chronic inflammation of the musculoskeletal system, including soft-tissue injury, bone and joint pathology, and laminitis. It is thought to be particularly useful in chronic problems of the hoof, including navicular syndrome and laminitis.

Because meclofenamate has a slow onset of full clinical action, other NSAIDs are used more commonly to treat colic or to reduce fevers.

Recent research has investigated the use of meclofenamate in embryo transfer programs to improve conception rates when the synchronization of the recipient mares is not within the ideal window. Normally, embryo transfer in the horse is most successful when the recipient mare ovulates one to two days after the donor mare. In a study done at the University of Cambridge, 81% of the recipient mares treated with meclofenamate became pregnant even when they had ovulated as early as two to three days prior to the donor mare.

Meclofenamate is permitted under the therapeutic substance rules of the USEF. Further information regarding NSAID use at USEF competitions may be found on its Web site, www.USEF.org.

Meclofenamate Side Effects

The most-common side effects are those seen with all NSAIDs: decreased packed-cell volume due to bleeding, ulceration of the mouth and GI tract, colic, and diarrhea.

Precautions

  • NSAIDs should be used with particular caution in horses with liver disease, decreased renal function, or pre-existing GI problems.
  • Horses with heavy infestations of Gastrophelus may be more likely to develop colic.
  • Hypoproteinemic animals may require a lower dose in order to prevent signs of toxicity.
  • Meclofenamate crosses the placenta and has been shown to delay parturition in other species. It also has been shown to be teratogenic in rodents although this research has not been borne out in the horse. It should be used only in pregnant mares when the benefits of therapy outweigh the potential risks.

Drug Interactions

Meclofenamate should be used with additional caution with other drugs that may cause GI ulceration, including corticosteroids or other NSAIDs. In particular, combination with aspirin may increase blood loss due to GI side-effects.

Overdose

  • Early signs of chronic NSAID toxicity include anorexia, colic, diarrhea, and ulcers.
  • In the event of an acute overdose, GI emptying through nasogastric lavage and supportive monitoring and care may be helpful. In humans, seizures and renal failure have occurred following massive overdose. Electrolyte and fluid balance should be monitored and managed. IV diazepam may be used for seizures.

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