Flunixin Meglumine for Horses
General Drug Information and Indications
How to Give this Medication
Search for Available Dosage Forms
Flunixin meglumine is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is used to treat pain and reduce fever or inflammation. Some of the common uses of flunixin meglumine in horses include:
- Pain relief in the treatment of colic
- Anti-inflammatory before and after eye surgery, and in the treatment of painful conditions of the eye including corneal ulcers, uveitis, conjunctivitis
- Reducing or controlling fevers due to viral or bacterial infections
- Protection from septic shock due to gastrointestinal problems
Although Flunixin can be used for the treatment of arthritis, there are other NSAIDs that are more commonly prescribed for this purpose. Flunixin meglumine is FDA approved for use in horses. When the appropriate form or dose of this drug is not available through a veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturer, it may be compounded by a specialty pharmacy.
Give this medication to your horse exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your horse a dose of flunixine meglumine, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.
As in humans, oral NSAIDs can be hard on the digestive tract. Oral flunixin meglumine should be given with food.
Flunixine meglumine is quickly absorbed into the blood stream; pain relief and fever reduction usually starts within one to two hours.
Drugs to protect the digestive tract, such as omeprazole, cimetidine, or sucralfate, are frequently used with flunixin.
Wash your hands after giving your horse this medication.
Be sure to discuss any side effects with your veterinarian immediately.
The most common side effects are ulcers of the stomach and large colon. These are more likely to occur with prolonged oral treatment.
Rare side effects include kidney damage and bleeding disorders. Kidney damage is more likely to occur if your horse is dehydrated or debilitated.
Injection site reactions can occur when injectable flunixin meglumine is given in the muscle. An injection site reaction may include localized pain, swelling, muscle inflammation or muscle damage. In very rare cases these can be life threatening.
Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children.
Flunixin meglumine should be avoided or very carefully monitored in horses with liver problems, kidney problems, or those prone to GI ulcers.
Pony breeds, older horses and foals, are all considered special populations when using NSAIDs. Although veterinarians use drugs like flunixin meglumine in these horses, they are at a higher risk for side effects. Your veterinarian may choose to use a lower dose, or perform additional blood work.
Flunixin should be used with caution in the pregnant or nursing mare. No adverse effect on sperm production has been reported.
Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your horse may be receiving.
Avoid combining flunixine meglumine with other anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids or other NSAIDs, such as phenylbutazone.
Flunixin meglumine should be used with caution with aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin and amikacin, and oral blood thinners, such as warfarin.
A single miscalculated dose is not likely to produce toxicity. However, if you suspect your horse or another animal was accidentally overdosed or has eaten this medication by accident, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.
If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.
Different strengths or dosage forms of flunixine meglumine may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.
About the Author
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
You can purchase books by Dr. Forney at www.exclusivelyequine.comThe information contained on this site is general in nature and is intended for use as an informational aid. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the products shown, nor is the information intended as medical advice or diagnosis for individual health problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of using a particular product. You should consult your doctor about diagnosis and treatment of any health problems. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), nor has the FDA approved the products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.
Wedgewood Pharmacy compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals.