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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Biochemical and haematological effects of phenylbutazone in horses.

Five matched pairs of horses were used to investigate the effects of phenylbutazone on a range of physiological, biochemical and haematological variables. The drug was given by mouth daily for 15 consecutive days at the manufacturer's recommended dose rates to one group of horses (Group A); the second group (Group B) received equivalent doses of a placebo. For some of the measured parameters, significant changes were recorded in both groups, indicating background instability. Significant decreases in serum total protein, albumin, plasma pH, viscosity and magnesium, and an increase in albumin: globulin ratio occurred in Group A, but not in Group B. These changes were, therefore, attributed to phenylbutazone or its metabolites. Toxicologically, the change in pH is probably unimportant but the decrease in protein concentration may have resulted from a protein losing enteropathy and/or from decreased synthesis in the liver. In one animal which received phenylbutazone, clinical signs of toxicity (lethargy, inappetence, oedema) were observed and evidence of hepatotoxicity and haematological changes were also noted in this horse. It is concluded that recommended dose rates of phenylbutazone should never be exceeded and that the period for which the highest dose (4.4 mg/kg body weight twice daily for four days) is administered should be reduced. In clinical cases, where phenylbutazone toxicity is suspected, measurement of serum or plasma protein concentration might provide an indication of the need to reduce dose levels or stop therapy.[1]


  1. Biochemical and haematological effects of phenylbutazone in horses. Lees, P., Creed, R.F., Gerring, E.E., Gould, P.W., Humphreys, D.J., Maitho, T.E., Michell, A.R., Taylor, J.B. Equine Vet. J. (1983) [Pubmed]
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