Understanding the correct dosage of bute in older horses - is an balancing act between protecting their digestive system and soothing their musculoskeletal aches and pains.

Phenylbutazone (commonly known as bute is one of the most common drugs prescribed to treat pain and inflammation in horses.

There are certain pre-existing conditions which generally rule out the use of the drug. These include:

  • blood disorders,
  • ulcers,
  • heart disease and
  • kidney problems.

It is also important to establish whether bute is appropriate for your horse’s illness. For example, pain arising from colic or infection should NOT be treated with bute.

Degenerative diseases & arthritis - safe dosage of bute in older horses

As horses age, their joints start to wear -  which often leads to the development of arthritis. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways we can keep older horses more comfortable.


Bute - for horses with no digestive, kidney or heart issues - vets suggest that a dose of 1g of bute/day (or one sachet of AbButazone) can help them feel more comfortable. Many owners report that this small dose can still dramatically improve their older horse's quality of life.

Long term dosage of bute in older horses:

Generally, horses should not be treated with bute for longer than 5-7 days. However, there is a solution if you find that your horse benefits from daily pain relief.

Sucralfate is often prescribed in conjunction with bute, as the sucralfate works to protect the gastrointestinal lining.