Previcox for Horses

Anti inflammatory drugs such as Bute and Banamine can be very helpful when dealing with a situation like Freedom’s where we’re working to reduce the swelling in his leg. PrevicoxThe downside is that these Cox-1 inhibitors can cause gastric ulcers.

As an alternative, horse owners are looking at drugs that inhibit Cox-2 pathways such as Equioxx, where the active ingredient is fibrocoxib. In clinical studies fibrocoxib showed fewer gastric side effects than the other NSAIDs (bute, banamine), which makes it preferable when using long term or in horses prone to gastic problems.

Unfortunately, Equioxx is expensive (about $9/dose) and comes as an oral paste. Anyone who has wormed their horse knows that dosing a paste can be messy and wasteful.

Which is why some people are looking long and hard at Previcox, the canine equivalent.  Previcox comes in chewable tablets and at a fraction of the cost. A bottle of 60 57-mg tablets costs just $75 ($1.25/tablet). You can feed a tablet to your horse disguised in a treat or a handful of grain.

The problem is that Previcox for horses is an off-label usage, not because fibrocoxib hasn’t been tested in horses (it has) but because it is illegal to prescribe for horses because there is an equine approved form on the market. FDA regulations prevent off-label use of drugs when the same drug exists for that species.

I first learned about Previcox from a friend who is a vet. She had used it for her own  horse when she needed long-term NSAIDs. I use Previcox for my elderly dog who is arthritic, so I had a supply on hand. Instead of putting Freedom on 10 days of Bute, I opted to dose Freedom with Previcox instead. Funnily enough the dosage for the typical horse is just 57 mg; the dosage for my dog (who weighs 30 lbs) is half of one of those tablets and most of the time I feed him just a quarter of a tab.

What do you think about the cost of drugs for horses? Do you feel that the drug companies are taking advantage of horse owners?

Do you think vets should be able to prescribe Previcox instead of Equioxx? Judging by equine bulletin boards it seems that many horse owners (and their vets) are already going this route.

30 thoughts on “Previcox for Horses

  1. I’m so glad you mentioned the dosage issue in off-label use of Previcox. Horses need MUCH less Previcox than dogs. It’s my understanding that it processes through the liver differently in horses, and what you’d give a small dog could seriously injure a horse.

    That said, I’ve seen it used a few times, and believe it should be available for rx in horses. One older gelding responded beautifully to it, one middle aged mare it seemed to make no dicernable difference. Hard to know why? Was she simply in more pain, and more stoic? Was it not an inflammation issue as dx’d, but another unknown factor that was making her “off”?

    My single concern for off-label use is humans who think “more is better”, and don’t believe (saw this) a horse would need less than a dog. The horse made it, luckily!

  2. Having just adopted a “well mannered, 24+ year old mare in excellent health; has mild arthritis but needs no meds except the occasional bute on cold winter days”…NOT! Talk about needing a lot of something for the arthritis.

    The first option I was given was steroid shots to both front knees (with synthetic joint fluid) at a cost of $500 EACH TIME. It may not work, may only work a short time and is extremely painful. I’d love a more cost effective option like Previcox. In fact, my vet had suggested it after I recovered from the shock of the cost of the injections. Right now, we’ll be sedating my mare for her upcoming farrier visit as the arthritis makes her demonstrate a truly wicked (and impressive) cowkick should anyone be stupid enough to ask her to lift her feet more than an inch off the ground.

    Once her way overdue hoof trimming is caught up, we will re-evaluate her for something like Previcox. We’ll bute her the night before and the morning of her farrier visit. I also plan to start her on MSM for inflammation.

  3. I know my vet was going to perscribe Previcox to me, as he already does for several horses.My horse also gets a lot of Omega 3 and MSM for inflammation. Sometimes I do think we get taken advantage of because we are horse owners.

  4. I have a friend in vet school and our joke is that by putting a picture of the horse on the label, the price increases tenfold. It’s the myth that all horse owners are rich.

    Seriously. I’ve had many people say to me “Oh, so you’re rich?” when I say I have two horses. I usually respond with “Well I might be if I didn’t have two horses.”

    1. I tell people a horse is the land equivalent of a boat. Definition of a boat: a hole in the water into which you pour money. I also tell people that horse ownership would be cheaper if I could just feed my horse dollar bills.

  5. Pingback: Ringbone - A Horse with Ouchie Feet - Part Two - Horse Buzz A-ZHorse Buzz A-Z

  6. Donna Sweeney

    This is such an interesting article and absolutely yes our vets should be allowed to prescribe Previcox. I have five horses a 24 yr old, 20 yr old, 2 x 16 yr olds and a youngster; the two 16 yr olds are rescues and the two oldest horses basically retired. I struggle more and more with the price of everything involved with horses and my feed costs have risen dramatically. There have been weeks when I shop extremely basically in Lidl because my animals are put first. I will always find a way to treat my horses properly but I do wonder how many people are out there that would not go to the lengths I do and I really worry about our equine friends. There are lots of people out there exploiting people with horses assuming they are wealthy and quite frankly it is shameful. If previcox works as well on my horse as it did my elderly dog we should 100% have access to it via a qualified vet.

  7. Laurie

    Our 16 yo gelding is stiff in the back legs due to arthritis. I have been concerned with all the rx anti-inflamitory drugs as they at so harsh on his tummy and liver.We came across a natural supplement that doesn’t tear up his stomach, in pill form so easy to feed, and has health benefits like anti fibrotic and anti inflammatory. Big performance ropers are using it. Chills out some of the anxious horses. Takes a few weeks to get it on the system (since its not a drug it takes a little time to work). Medical studies back it. If u want to try it, send me your email and ill send u the link.

    1. Anne

      Hi Laurie, It is a while since your post , but I just came across it. I would like to know what you give your horse – if you get this message! I have a 22 year old with arthritis (initially diagnosed when he was only 9) and he is getting very stiff after lying in his back right leg – but once moving wanders around the fields all day and has his roll. He has been getting green lipid mussel for a few years and I have just changed his feed to one with the full recommended dose of glucosamine – so in total he gets over 1.5 times the recommended dose. I want to avoid NSAIDs as long as possible.

    2. Brenda

      I would love to know what you have used on your horse that has done so well for him. I have had my horse on Bute and several different supplements over the past year and a half.. He is better, but only if I give him the supplements and the bute everyday. I have just ordered Cetyl M as someone had told me they had really good response from supplement. You can email me at bphillips@… thank you so much.

    3. Kristen

      Hello Laurie, I just saw your post and am very interested in trying the pill you mentioned. My 22 yo gelding has neuritis from laminitis and needs some pain relief. He is basically sound now except when he has to walk across any gravel or hits a stone. I really hate to use drugs due to the side effects they always have. My email is:
      Thank you for your post!

  8. I had a 24 yr old gelding that had Pigeon Fever real bad. During the course of 8 months and 9 ulcers appearing at different times I finally decided to put him down. He was on the ground for 3 days. Could not get up!. I struggled to keep him with water and hay all thru the day and night. Used blankets and tarps to help keep him warm when it snowed. I couldn’t let him suffer anymore and called the vet to have him put to sleep. 15 minutes before the DR arrived Jake got up!!!!!! Limped over to the feeder and kept eating. When the vet arrived he noticed he had a lump in the inside of his thigh. Isolated him and hot packed him and sure enough he still had Pigeon Fever. Jake was put on antibiotics for 2 months and Previcox for the 1st month. What a difference it made. Thank God for the Previcox. I may not have Jake now. That lil 57 mg pill in a 1500 lb horse sure worked. Used it again when he cut the back of his hock. Poor baby could barely walk. He is 26 now and doing great!!! He is a survivor.

      1. Thank you for your reply. Amazing how attached we get over a horse! Jake is my baby. Pigeon Fever is a horrible infection. Where we live 2 horses died from it that year. Sure took it’s toll. Jake was a huge graft. QT, TB mix. Big and tall and long. His hooves were ruined but finally got them healed. Finally gaining his weight back. Took his winter blanket off cause it warmed up enough for the day and he looked so much better… Getting his round rump back and cannot see his ribs now.. Can’t wait to see if I can ride him this summer! Everyone have a very blessed time with your babies.

  9. groundedcowgirl

    My 19 year old mare is 150 days in foal. She has always been a very athletic mare with a lot of go. During her pregnancy she has started showing signs of stiffness and soreness in her front end, standing around alot, toe-ing out, etc. We have tried butte a few times and she gets relief for a while, but then the problem comes back. Being pregnant (or not) I was concerned about the long term effects of Butte. I talked to my vet about this and aside from the pain my horse was suffering from, he was also concerned that inflammation can lead to her aborting the foal. With that said, my vet recommended Previcox which we started yesterday. The vet said it would take 3 to 4 days for it to get into her system. Fingers crossed!

  10. david wilson

    I am a people physician and understand the rules regarding off label use in humans. Unless a manufacturer of a pharmaceutical has a financial reason to prove efficacy in another disease, they will not spend the money to test an existing drug for a new use. This happens all the time with humans; if the science supports use of a medication for another disease but common knowledge says the drug is useful in the treatment of that disease, you use it. Previcox is a more easily administered form than the approved drug Equioxx; the pill gives a more reliable dosage to a horse. End of story.

  11. Bev

    My vet just started my mare on Previox as she is prone to laminitis and made herself very stiff from tippy toeing around! I had her on bute, but hate what I imagine it’s doing to her stomach plus it makes her dopey and then she’s even more stiff from standing around! Then we tried Dexamethasone (sp?) and that just seemed to make her even groggier and again she was unwilling to move. She has now had 6 does of Previcox and I noticed an improvement within 24 hours! It’s clear she still has an abscess in her front left foot but she’s way more wiling to move and it seems like she has her brain back! Her personality is back and she’s moving way more and therefore not as stiff! She even went out to pasture with the rest of the herd the other day! What a blessing to only have to focus on the abscess and have her pain under control without the grogginess! Vets should be able to prescribe this for horses as one 57 mg pill crushed up once day in her beet pulp has worked wonders!

  12. joan

    I have a mini with a laminitis problem…not cushings, not IR, 1st time was after vaccines, this time was after worming. Unfortunately don’t feel we can vaccinate anymore, and will do fecal checks for parasites and figure out what to do when I have to! After a time of banamine & I’m saying ” it’s not helping”.. my vet suggested the Previcox..almost immediate relief. 1/4 of a pill every night, when I notice her symptomatic. As she is going to need help off and on for the long term, I feel blessed to have this option.

  13. Lenore

    Looking for information on use of previcox and pregnant mares. My mare is in first trimester. Worried about side effects as well possible effects on developing foal. Saw something about skeletal deformities in rabbits versus mice.

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