Research: Use of Firocoxib for the Treatment of Equine Osteoarthritis

Editor’s Note: The following research article by Josh R. Donnell and David E. Frisbie and entitled “Use of firocoxib for the treatment of equine osteoarthritis” is available free through open access from Dove Press. Both authors are from the Department of Clinical Sciences, Orthopedic Research Center, Colorado State University. Following is the abstract of the research.


This review presents the pathogenesis and medical treatment of equine osteoarthritis (OA), focusing on firocoxib. Inhibition of prostaglandin E2 remains a fundamental treatment for decreasing clinical symptoms (i.e., pain and lameness) associated with OA in horses. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which inhibit the production of prostaglandin E2 from the arachidonic acid pathway, continue to be a mainstay for the clinical treatment of OA. Firocoxib is a cyclooxygenase (COX)-2-preferential NSAID that has been shown to be safe and to have a 70% oral bioavailability in the horse. Three clinical reports identified symptom-modifying effects (reduction in pain and/or lameness) in horses with OA administered the once-daily recommended dose (0.1 mg/kg) of oral firocoxib following 7 days of administration. Other reports have suggested that a one-time loading dose (0.3 mg/kg) of firocoxib provides an earlier (1–3 days) onset of action compared to the recommended dose. It is noteworthy that OA disease-modifying effects have been reported in horses for other COX-2-preferential NSAIDs (meloxicam and carprofen), but have not been attributed to firocoxib due to a lack of investigation to date.

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