Both Bute and Banamine are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are used to reduce inflammation and pain in horses. While these drugs sound similar and seem like they could be interchangeable, there are actually several different situations for when you should use one or the other. Read on to see the main differences between Bute and Banamine, and when the right time to use each one is. 

Bute (Phenylbutazone)

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
  • Bute can be given as a powder, paste, or via IV injection. Only veterinarians should give an IV injection, so powder and paste are the most commonly used forms of Bute.
  • This anti-inflammatory is best for when your horse is sore or slightly off. It can be used to temporarily relieve pain for lameness issues, but it’s usually not a solution for a major problem.
  • Bute can be hard on a horse's stomach and can cause ulcers or kidney and liver problems if used too frequently. It’s best to use it periodically for minor aches and pains rather than in an everyday regimen. If your horse needs a pain reliever every day, talk to your vet about alternatives such as Equioxx which has the same effects as bute, but is designed for long-term use.    

Banamine (Flunixin meglumine)

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
  • Banamine can be given as a paste, in granules, or through IV injection. Similar to bute, it’s best to let your vet handle the injection, but paste or granules are very effective.
  • This medicine is most commonly used for abdominal pain and intensional issues such as colic.
  • While Banamine is great for helping a horse in an emergency colic situation, it’s important to remember that it’s not actually fixing the problem that causes the colic. If your horse colics frequently, talk to your vet about what could be causing the problem and if there’s a long-term solution. 

Keep this table on hand in case you're unsure of which drug you should be using! 

Bute vs Banamine

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