If your horse tends to colic, your vet may have left you a tube of Banamine to administer to your animal for pain relief. Flunixin meglumine, marketed under the trade name Banamine, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, also used for equine musculoskeletal disorders. Like all NSAIDs, Banamine has potential side effects, some of which are related to the form of the drug used, and others occurring no matter how the horse receives the medication.
If your vet gave you the Banamine to give your horse to offer pain relief until she gets to your farm, that doesn't mean you should administer Banamine without your vet's approval. Always contact your vet before administering Banamine for the initial symptoms of colic or another health issue.
Banamine Side Effects
In horses, NSAIDs may affect the gastrointestinal system and the kidneys. While ulcers -- either in the stomach or colon -- often develop when NSAIDs are used long-term, in some equines ulceration may occur even with short-term use. That's especially true of foals. Kidney disease after the use of Banamine is more likely to occur in young and aged equines, along with those suffering from dehydration.
Do not administer Banamine to a horse receiving any type of diuretic. Banamine is contraindicated for horses receiving other types of NSAIDs or pregnant mares.
If you are comfortable giving intramuscular injections, your vet may have prescribed this form of Banamine for your horse. However, she should warn you about possible muscle damage if the drug is administered incorrectly. Rarely, Clostridium, a bacteria that may lie in a horse's muscles, can spread throughout this system if the muscle becomes damaged through the injection site, causing a potentially fatal infection. That infection goes by the unfortunate but descriptive moniker of gas gangrene. After giving Banamine intramuscularly, keep a close eye on the injection site for the next few days. Signs of Clostridium myositis infection -- the clinical name -- include:
- Swelling and gas pockets at the injection site
- Difficulty moving
- Purple gums.
Call your vet at once if you notice any of these symptoms. Immediate and aggressive antibiotic treatment is necessary to save your horse, along with thoroughly opening and cleansing the area around the intramuscular injection site. Any dead tissue requires removal. Your horse also may need intravenous fluid therapy and pain medication.