Evaluation of oral administration of firocoxib for the management of musculoskeletal pain and lameness associated with osteoarthritis in horses

James A. Orsini, DVM; William G. Ryan, BVS; Douglas S. Carithers, DVM; Raymond C. Boston, PhD
May 2012
American Journal of Veterinary Research

Objective—To generate data on the effects of firocoxib administration to horses with osteoarthritis.

Animals—Client-owned horses with signs of lameness and joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Procedures—Firocoxib was administered as an oral paste (0.1 mg/kg, q 24 h) for 14 days. Assessments were performed on day 0 (baseline) and days 7 and 14.

Results—390 of 429 horses from 80 sites in 25 states met the criteria for analysis. Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred were the 2 most commonly represented breeds, comprising half of the study population. Signs of musculoskeletal pain or lameness attributed to osteoarthritis were diagnosed in a single joint in 197 (197/390 [50.5%]) horses and in multiple joints in 193 (193/390 [49.5%]) horses. In those with involvement of a single joint, the tarsus was the most frequently affected joint (79/197 [40.1 %]). Among the 390 horses with complete lameness data, improvement was reported in approximately 80% by day 14. Investigators rated 307 (78.7%) horses as improved, whereas owners or handlers rated 316 (81.0%) horses as improved at the termination of the study. Horses treated with firocoxib paste had significant improvement in lameness scores from baseline values. Improvement was most rapid within the first 7 days after starting treatment and continued, albeit at a slower rate, through treatment day 14.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Firocoxib significantly improved lameness scores throughout the 14-day period with few adverse effects. Firocoxib can be a safe cyclooxygenase-2–specific NSAID for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and lameness associated with osteoarthritis.