Firocoxib Safety for Horses

A Brazilian study examined the safety of using oral firocoxib in horses for 14 days.
Older horse eating hay, might benefit from firocoxib
Firocoxib is widely used to treat musculoskeletal issues in horses, which can help keep horses of all ages more comfortable. | Getty Images

The introduction of selective Cox-2 inhibitory products to the veterinary market was met with great interest. Now, firocoxib is widely used in treating musculoskeletal issues in horses with the hope that adverse effects on intestinal and renal mucosa are averted. A Brazilian study examined the safety of using oral firocoxib [Araújo, RA.; Sales, NAA.; Basile, RC. et al. A Safety Assessment of an Oral Therapeutic Dose of Firocoxib on Healthy Horses. Vet. Sci. 2023, 10, 531.].

Nine horses of approximately 11 years of age (+/- 3 years) received 0.1m/kg of oral firocoxib for 14 days. Gastroscopy was performed just prior to treatment and two days following treatment. No animals had gastric ulcers. Blood samples were obtained on day 1 before start of treatment, and on days 7, 15 and 21.

Following treatment, there were no changes on gastroscopic exam, with all horses retaining an ulcer score of 0. There were minor changes in complete blood count and serum biochemistry parameters, but in essence, all variable remained within reference values, including renal and liver values. 

However, coagulation parameters were affected by the two-week firocoxib treatment. The authors stated, “Clinicians should be conscious of potential anti-coagulopathy secondary to firocoxib administration with long-term use or critical illness.” That said, they concluded that firocoxib is safe to use and well-tolerated in horses as an anti-inflammatory drug as it does not cause significant adverse reactions or physiological changes in healthy individuals.

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