When to use Bute vs. Banamine


“Bute” (phenylbutazone) and Banamine® (flunixin meglumine) are both anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)  that are commonly given to horses to address pain. They are two medications that I try to have on hand (especially Banamine) because when you need them, you need them right now.

I’ve always used Bute for musculoskeletal pain. If a horse is lame, for example, your vet might suggest Bute for a couple of days. It should not be used for long term pain treatment as It is  likely to cause ulcers, especially in the large colon. Bute is usually dispensed in a powder or paste form.

Banamine is a drug that is most commonly given for colic relief as it has extra anti-inflammatory benefits that make it helpful for treating intestinal problems. Unlike Bute, when you give Banamine to a horse you can see the results within a half hour — a colicky horse often shows significant relief. Banamine is usually dispensed as a past although it can also be given intravenously and some people give it intramuscularly, although that can be irritating to tissues.

Banamine is typically used to help relieve intestinal pain, such as colic.

For more information, there is an excellent series of articles on the differences between the two drugs on Behind the Bit.

Bute vs. Banamine: What’s the Diff? part 1

Bute vs. Banamine: Banamine, Part 2

Bute vs. Banamine: Bute, Part 3

5 thoughts on “When to use Bute vs. Banamine

  1. I recently had to give Banamine as an injection, IM. Not my favorite way to dispense. I’ve heard that even when given properly, injection sites can develop abscesses. If it’s not needed for instant relief, giving it orally works well. (Though takes slightly longer to act). Draw it into syringe, remove needle, squirt slowly into horses mouth while elevating their head, so it doesn’t pour out.. (Most horses elevate for you, lol!) One more tool in the box…

  2. My 23 year old half Arab mare has chronic founder but is not responding to Bute this time. Should I ask my vet about discontinuing the Bute and trying Banamine?

    1. Certainly it is worth asking about. I’ve also read that some vets recommend Acetaminophen for laminitis. You might ask if that would work. Good luck! I hope your horse feels better.

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