Bute (or phenylbutazone) is a common pain killer and anti-inflammatory for horses.

It’s a staple in most barns or equine first aid kits. Bute is probably the most common pain relieving medication for horses however it is not effective on all types of pain.

What is bute for horses used for?

There are two main purposes for bute.

  • For the short term treatment of pain (analgesia)
  • the treatment of fever (antipyresis) in horses.

Long term bute use is possible with protection.
ong term bute use is possible with protection.

Pain treatment:

Bute is used to treat the pain associated with infections & musculoskeletal disorders including:

  • Sprains
  • Overuse injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Laminitis
  • Arthritis

Bute acts directly on musculoskeletal tissue to control inflammation. This alleviates pain, reduces secondary inflammation and restores motion.

HOWEVER, please note that Bute is not an effective pain reliever for colic.

Fever Reduction:

Bute’s antipyretic qualities can reduce fever symptoms and assist a horse’s recovery by encouraging eating & drinking. However, care should be taken as  it may also mask other symptoms of an ill horse.

Recomended dosage of bute:

Day 1 - (8.8mg/kg per day)

Days 2 -5 (4.4mg/kg per day):

Side effects of  phenylbutazone

Bute works well for horses for short-term pain relief. But it can be toxic if used in too high of a dose

Some adverse side effects include gastro intestinal ulcers, kidney damage oral lesions and internal haemorrhage.

Where do you get bute for horses?

Bute is available via prescription from your veterinarian or you can buy online

Things to note:

Bute becomes inactive in extreme heat - so don’t try and bake it into treats to make it more palatable for your horse.

Bute should be used cautiously in pregnant or lactating mares.

Not sure whether you need Bute or not? Check out this article to find out the common signals of a horse in pain.