Keeping Up from the AAEP Convention: Acetominophen for Analgesia

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Editor's note: Each year, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention brings forward cutting-edge scientific topics. This venue provides excellent continuing education for equine practitioners from around the world, giving insights into state-of-the-art medical, surgical and business strategies. At the 2016 Convention in Orlando, Florida, interesting papers were presented at the Kester News Hour. Many of the papers discussed have practical implications for common problems in equine medicine and surgery. In addition, this information can help provide practitioners with material to educate clients in the best health care for their horses. We will cover four other topics in separate articles on EquiManagement.com.

Credit: Thinkstock A presentation at the 2016 AAEP Convention indicated that the incredibly low cost (about $0.30) per dose of acetaminophen make this an attractive option to provide analgesia.

Credit: Thinkstock A presentation at the 2016 AAEP Convention indicated that the incredibly low cost (about $0.30) per dose of acetaminophen make this an attractive option to provide analgesia.

Acetominophen for Analgesia

At the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioner’s (AAEP) annual convention in Orlando, Florida, Jonathan Foreman, DVM, MS, DACVIM-LAIM, of the University of Illinois Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, discussed the potential value of using acetaminophen (Tylenol or Paracetamol) for managing pain in horses. Because it is absorbed almost 99% from the small intestine of horses, it achieves an immediate response within two hours when administered at 25 mg/kg via nasogastric tube.

To evaluate its efficacy in pain management compared to flunixin meglumine, foot pain was created eight horses using an adjustable heart bar shoe to create Grade 4 lameness. A dose of 20 mg/kg of acetaminophen given orally an hour after lameness induction was compared to a dose of 1.1 mg/kg flunixin meglumine, and to horses receiving no medication. Heart rate and lameness scores were monitored every 20 minutes for five hours, then hourly until 12 hours post-treatment. Both the acetaminophen and flunixin horses improved similarly and there were no changes in liver enzymes.

More safety studies need to be pursued, but the incredibly low cost (about $0.30) per dose of acetaminophen make this an attractive option to provide analgesia.

The Take Home

Common medical conditions seen by equine practitioners continue to be researched for better approaches and solutions. Having this knowledge in hand enables veterinarians to keep abreast of cutting-edge advances. Clients benefitting from this information will be better served, hopefully with improved outcomes for their equine partners. Client satisfaction from favorable outcomes is not only gratifying to the practitioner, but it also inspires loyalty to your practice.

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