All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

Bute v Herbal Substitute
Saturday, 08 August 2009
I have always been one to try using natural remedies over chemical solutions when treating the horses for any ailments they might be experiencing. I always thought I was safe using herbal/natural remedies and couldn't do any harm or at least do less harm using herbs or natural remedies. How wrong I was!!

Background History of Baby:

I have never had occasion to use bute until Baby came to me. Baby has had three episodes of laminitis since I bought her last year. On each occasion it has been suggested by vet, friends and/or farrier that I give her bute to ease the pain.

The first occasion was when a farrier trimmed her during a bout of laminitis. It was suggested (not by the farrier but by friends) that she should get bute to help ease the discomfort. I only had Bute-x in my medical box so I gave her a dose of that before putting her out for the night. She seemed OK with that and I didn't give her anymore on this occasion.

She went down again with what appeared to be laminitis this winter just gone which was surprising as she was in a sand arene. We assumed it might have been the new batch of haylage that they had been eating for the previous few days.

Whilst waiting for the vet I started giving her the Bute-x, at the receommended dose for severe cases, again in her feed.

In the day ot two waiting for the vet to arrive she developed abcesses in both lower front legs/feet. Both legs were very swollen up to the knee and she has puss coming from lesions on each heel.

After the vet visited this time, he gave her a shot of amoxocylin (anti-biotic). That night she developed a colic. I called the vet to let him know she was in distress. He that giving amoxocylin they can develop a colic. He never told me this before he gave it to her! He advised getting some oil into her oraly and just leave her in the paddock without food and just water only.

Thankfully she recovered from the colic.

The vet also left me some bute powders to administer over the next 5 days. Baby would not accept these powders in any way. I tried putting it in food, disguising it with sweet stuff. But no way!! There was no way she would accept anything that had the bute powder in it. I probably wasted the whole 10 sachets.

I was never happy using bute, because of the possible side effects, and only considered it to help Baby with the pain. I was desparate to help her with the pain management.

I purchased another herbal Substi-bute to keep in medical box just in case I needed any pain medication should she need it in future.

Two weeks ago, on a Thursday, Baby appeared to go down with laminitis again. So normal procedure, bring her into the sand arena, make a deep litter bed in a stable and call farrier.

Now Baby is a rather complicated case. She has been mostly lame since I bought her last year.

In the last 9 months she has been seen by a farrier who has been building the hoof, that was causing her real problems, with resin. We seemed to be making progress and although not clinically sound she appeared reasonably comfortable until June of this year.

For some reason Baby was not getting comfort from the last resin shoe that was applied in the middle of June this year and appeared to be getting progressively more lame and uncomfortable.

The farrier who was doing this work for her was starting to get very unreliable. He would not pick up on calls to his phone, he would make an appointment to come out and see her then not bother to turn up.

Baby was getting worse during this time. So I made contact with another farrier. Although he hadn't done the resin work before he was quite willing to research the procedure and give it a go.

Anway now:

Baby was very lame my current farrier who was working with her for the past nine months had let me down twice in two weeks and she was getting worse. I made the decision to call in another farrier.

It was a Thursday morning and she was particularly lame so I brought her into the yard before going to work. We made deep litter bed and put her in a stable with plenty of hay and water.

Thursday evening she was no better so I texted the new farrier to see if he could get out to her as soon as possible. I explained that she was chronically lame. She had not temperature and no loss of appetite but she was obviously in severe pain.

Friday, before going to work, I put her in the sand arena with hay and water so she could see her friends over the fence.

Friday afternoon the farrier called to say he could come out straight away. I told him I was at work but it would be good if he could come out on Saturday morning. He said he would go straight round to my place to have a look at her. He did and called me back to say he thought it might be laminitis. He also asked about the partial resin that was still left on the outside of her bad hoof.

I explained what had been happening over the past few months and that the resin was what was left from her last visit from the previous farrier. He said he would be out the next morning to give her a trim.

He came out the following morning and have her a good trim. He removed what was left of the resin and showed me it when he removed it. There was what appeared to be a ridge in the resin between the sole and the hoof wall which might having been digging in to her. It would be like walking on a stone!

Anyway he suggested to stable her on a deep litter bed which we had already prepared.

After he left I called a vet and expained what was happening. He said he couldn't come out as he was on holiday for the next week. After giving a list of all her symptoms, including pulse, tempurature and all the background history and current symptoms, I asked if I should call another vet to give her a shot of anti biotics. He said that unless there was infection there would be no point. I was just to carry on with what I was doing.

This was the daily routine:

Morning and evening

Feed Baby: included inthe feed was 40ml of Substi-bute (suggested dosage for severe cases)

Hose her front legs down for 15 minutes (she was only lame in the front).

After two days he farrier called to see if she was improving. She wasn't but she wasn't getting any worse.

After about 5 days of the above feeding and hosing down I noticed her lower back legs appeared to be filling up. I took this as lack of movement so I decided to leave the stable door open so she had access to the sand arena for a bit of exercise.

She was reluctant to leave the stable on her own accord so I would encourage her out by putting her feed in the yard between the stable and the sand arena.

I also tried to encourage her to walk around the arena just for a few minutes morning and evening to help with the swelling to the lower back legs. She did seem to free up a small bit after walking.

After 11 days I noticed a few browny/red patches in the arena in the areas where she was obviously lying down in the sand. She was lying down a lot at this stage. I put it down to maybe fluid that was leaking from her anus while she was lying down.

In the meantime I had called a chiropractor and a dentist as I wanted to rule out any other underlying problems that was causing these re-occurances of laminitis.

She has been on a bare paddock for the past months. The only problem I could see with that is that we seemed to have a lot of clover this year. So the boost of nitrogen may hav sparked off the latest episode but I wanted to make sure there was no other underlying health issues or infections.

The Chriropractor I was in touch with would not call out to a single horse and suggested that it would be too expensive. I said I would pay all her expenses but she was still reluctant. She said she would call me back if she could fit us in when she was in the area. Still waiting for her call.

Dentist was out Wednesday and checked and floated her teeth. All seemed OK there with no apparent infection. After he left I noticed she had hives on all over her body. I thought this was maybe due to the stress of her having her teeth done. I don't know her full history before I got her or her experience with dentists.

Friday night, last night, I noticed there was about 10 of these browny/red patches around the arena. Not very big, maybe abouth 12 inches in diameter but a lot of them.

I was taking her tempurature and decided to check her nether regions and noticed what looked like dried blood on the outside of her vagina. I opened her a little and could see some slightly fresher blood.

I immediately called the vet and explained the brown patches and my suspicions that it was coming from her vagina. The first quastion he asked was, was she on bute. I said only herbal bute. He said she had what he sustpected was a uterine bleed as a result of being on bute long term. I said: what even herbal bute? He said: yes!

I then went on to ask if the swelling of the back legs could also be related. He said yes this could also be symptom of long term use of bute.

I told him that she had only been on it for 14 days. He said this would not be classed as long term but these were certainly symptoms and possible side effects of bute if used for a long time and to take her off the bute straight away. Thankfully, she hadn't had any since Thursday evening, as I had run out!!

He said just to monitor it and if she did not improve to call him today and he would call out and give her a shot.

After getting of the phone to the vet I called my son-in-law who is a homeopath. I started listing off all the symptoms and immediately he said he had a remedy in mind.

It was Apis and, Kidney bleed (similar to coffee grinds - which is what it looked like around here vagina), hives and swollen lower limbs were all suggested in this remedy. I went straight over to him and got some to give to her. I gave her a single 200c dose of Apis last night.

I dreamt during the night that when I woke this morning and when out ot her I found her lying dead in a pool of blood!!

I was woken by the sound of Baby calling this morning, thank God! When I went to the kitchen my husband said that she had been watching him in through the kitchen window and calling. I was 20 minutes later this morning going out to her and she was obviously letting us know she was ready for her breakfast. Who needs an alarm clock?

She seemed much better this morning. The hives had disappeared completely and there was only one patch of the dried blood in the arena. Her back legs are still swollen but they are not hot and she does not seem as stiff. She had been outside all night and had not used her stable.

I gave her her breakfact and another dose of Apis 200c.

The farrier came again today and tidied her feet up. We brought the other three horses up for a groom and she was left out to mingle with them. She seemed a lot happier today. She seemed well enough to go back down to the field with them. She had a good roll as soon as she got in the field.

I checked on her a few times this evening and she seems happier out the field with her buddies.

I will just keep an eye on her over the next few days. He lower back legs are still swollen and there is still some small traces of blood in her vagina.

I googled side effects of herbal bute last night and most of the common/results seeemed to indicate:

herbal alternative to Bute without the harmful side effects

Just based on my experience with Baby, this doesn't appear to be the case and I would urge anyone who uses herbal bute to use the same care and caution as they would when using chemical bute.

I would still try a natural remedy before resorting to traditional medicine but exersise a little more care in future and not assume that because it is natural it can do no, or less, harm.

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