Reasons for performing study: In horses, it has been demonstrated that suxibuzone (SBZ) has a lower gastric ulcerogenic effect than phenylbutazone (PBZ). However, no field trials have been reported comparing the efficacy of the drugs in alleviating lameness.
Objectives: To compare the therapeutic effect of SBZ to that of PBZ when administered orally in lame horses. Acceptability of both products was also compared.
Methods: Lame horses (n = 155) were used in a multicentre, controlled, randomised and double-blinded clinical trial. Horses were treated orally with either SBZ or PBZ at equivalent therapeutic dosages. PBZ was given to 79 horses at a dose of 4.4 mg/kg bwt/12 h for 2 days, followed by 2.2 mg/kg bwt/12 h for 6 days. SBZ was given to 76 horses at 6.6 mg/kg bwt/12 h for 2 days, followed by 3.3 mg/kg bwt/12 h for 6 days. Efficacy of treatments was evaluated by clinicians in equine practices according to lameness progression throughout the study. Product ingestion was checked daily to evaluate product acceptability.
Results: Although SBZ showed a statistically significant tendency to have a better efficacy than PBZ (Odds ratio = 2.7; P = 0.016), significance dissipated once the analysis was adjusted for some imbalanced baseline covariates, confirming that they were actually related to the apparent advantage of SBZ over PBZ. Product acceptability was significantly higher in the SBZ group than in the PBZ group (96.1% vs. 77.2%; P = 0.001).
Conclusions: SBZ and PBZ did not show significant differences in alleviating lameness in horses. However, SBZ had better product acceptability when administered orally with some food.
Potential relevance: SBZ is a good therapeutic alternative to PBZ in horses since there is no significant difference in alleviating lameness between the 2 therapies.