Probably the hottest topic in medications today is Bisphosphonates such as Osphos and Tildren. These
class of drugs were formulated to prevent osteoporosis or loss of bone in elderly people. Most of the
clinical work on horses was initiated overseas with Tildren some years ago being allowed importation
through special permits. Now these drugs are FDA approved. Some of us are quite concerned about their
long term effects. Noted surgeon Dr Bramlage has relayed his concerns in a recent Paulick report
editorial, and I thought I would echo his sentiments.
There are some things you really need to understand and know about these drugs. First, they severely
and abnormally adjust Bone metabolism. This is my major concern, especially in young growing horses.
They are constantly remodeling and growing new Bone to meet the demands of exercise. It seems almost
ludicrous to interfere with normal natural processes. As such the labeling recommends no horse under
the age of five be treated.
Secondly, in EVERY clinical trial except MAYBE navicular disease, there has been no lasting benefit from
using the drug. This is clinically confounded by the fact that On initial administration of the drug there is a
short term analgesic effect. For example the sore hocked horse appears to get better. Usually for no more
than a couple of weeks.
Finally, check the label. The medication can cause renal or kidney failure. This equates to a dead horse. It
can also frequently cause colic. Administration of banamine is not recommended, probably because it
could contribute to possible kidney failure.
Everybody wants and buys a cure all. There is no such thing. It perhaps offers a ray of hope to the older
navicular horse. Please don’t be tempted to use in a young horse.