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Horses can suffer from a number of ailments, just like any animal. Every horse owner should familiarize themselves with not only the illnesses their horse can obtain, but also the treatments for those illnesses. A common treatment for many conditions is a medication, and they vary just as greatly as medications for humans. Below are just a few of the medications a horse owner may need to administer to their horse.


NSAID stands for Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug, and this class of medications may sound familiar, as humans use them, too. NSAIDs are used to decrease inflammation, manage pain, and lower a fever. There are several different NSAIDs on the market, some coming in paste forms, some injectable, and some oral. Frequent use of NSAIDs can lead to ulcers or kidney and liver damage. Some NSAIDs can only be used in a particular way, and using them incorrectly can lead to other issues. For example, injectable Phenylbutazone can only be injected into the vein, as any trace of the drug in the muscles can cause severe damage. Although humans often take NSAIDs without consulting a professional, you should always take your horse’s temperature and contact their veterinarian before distributing an NSAID.


Another class of medications that seems familiar to humans is the antibiotic. Antibiotics, at their core, treat bacterial infections. These drugs must be used cautiously, even in horses, as resistance can greatly reduce an antibiotic’s effectiveness. Short-term digestive issues are common side effects in horses. Antibiotics can be injected, taken orally, or spread topically. The exact type of antibiotic used will depend on your horse’s illness, and their history of antibiotic use. A veterinarian will prescribe the correct medication.


The word “sedative” may seem strong, but consider that people undergoing surgery are often sedated with anesthesia. Similarly, horses need to be sedated when undergoing several different procedures, from dental work to surgery, and even getting their hooves trimmed. Sedatives require a prescription for each use, as they can cause serious side effects, and rarely death, when used incorrectly. A veterinarian will consider a horse’s health history before prescribing a sedative.

Horses require regular medical care, and they will need medications several times throughout their lives. Familiarize yourself with common horse medications to ensure you understand the care your horse needs.