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Proportion of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug prescription in equine practice

Duz, M.; Marshall, J. F.; Parkin, T. D.


Clinical Associate Professor

J. F. Marshall

T. D. Parkin


BACKGROUND: There is little knowledge of the prescription of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and whether their prescription varies between countries.
OBJECTIVE: To describe prescription practices of NSAIDs in equids in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) and Canada.
STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive observational study.
METHODS: Free-text electronic medical records from 141,543 equids from 10 equine practices in the UK, 255,777 equids from 7 equine practices with 20 branches from the USA and 2 practices with 7 branches from Canada were evaluated. A validated text-mining technique was used to describe the proportion of equids prescribed NSAIDs at least once in these countries. The choice of NSAIDs in orthopaedic and colic cases was evaluated.
RESULTS: The prescription of NSAIDs is more common in the USA (42.4%) and Canada (34.2%) than in the UK (28.6%). Phenylbutazone and flunixin meglumine were the drugs mostly prescribed in all countries. While flunixi meglumine was most prescribed with colic cases in all countries, a proportion received phenylbutazone despite this drug being licensed for use only with musculoskeletal disease. Phenylbutazone was the most commonly prescribed drug in cases with orthopaedic disease followed by flunixin meglumine in all countries. Only a small proportion of cases received meloxicam, ketoprofen or firocoxib.
MAIN LIMITATIONS: The retrospective design might have resulted in an unknown number of incomplete records, particularly in the reporting of colic and orthopaedic disease. Although the data set is large, the relatively small number of practices recruited from each country may introduce bias.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinical practice can differ between countries although the influence of individual practitioners and practice-specific policy on apparent intercountry differences requires further research. Despite several other NSAIDs being available and a substantial effort being made to evaluate their efficacy, the prescription of NSAIDs other than phenylbutazone and flunixin meglumine remains rather limited.


Duz, M., Marshall, J. F., & Parkin, T. D. (2018). Proportion of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug prescription in equine practice. Equine Veterinary Journal,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 26, 2018
Publication Date Jul 26, 2018
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2018
Journal Equine Veterinary Journal
Print ISSN 0425-1644
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Equine; General Medicine
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