My horse had a serious injury 3 months ago. Her left leg was spiked through to the bone 30 cm long cutting through the muscle and the whole thigh was degloved. Her skin was hanging around her knee.

She's come a long way. The wound is healing and a lot smaller. She is dragging her hoof however and is a little lame. She has regular vet care.

The vet has suggested that she may need to be on an anti-inflammatory on and off for life to reduce the swelling and relieve the pain.

I'm wondering if there is a natural alternative to the Phenylbutazone that I could use, that may not be so harsh on her stomach and also be less expensive.

This horse has previously been starved and I'm concerned about her developing ulcers. I don't want her to suffer. I want her life to be as comfortable as possible and I feed her many supplements to optimise her health.

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  • The obvious answer is aspirin as the most natural NSAID, but as a group they all have the GI issues you are trying to avoid. Have you searched for human anti-inflammatories with out the GI issues? Jul 6, 2017 at 11:59
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    All the NSAIDs can cause GI issues. Many stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peptic_ulcer_disease#Cause depending on the cause of previous ulcers, NSAIDs may or may not be more likely to cause a new ulcer. Jul 6, 2017 at 15:06
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    @JamesJenkins yes I'm aware of that - I take aspirin myself daily actually - another story - it's also the cost. So I'm looking at the herbal choices, many of which do pretty much the same thing as the NSAIDs. I might even write up an answer when I've finished my research. The vet is coming to look at her on Monday, I'll also have a chat to him, he's helpful and an equine specialist.
    – user6796
    Jul 6, 2017 at 15:23
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    Aspirin isn't natural. You're probably looking at white willow bark powder. Mar 15, 2018 at 5:26
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    @YvetteColomb Don't fall into the trap that "natural" is good for you (or your animals), it's a term loved by quack doctors, along with "alternative medicine", because it evokes fluffy vibes but in reality means nothing. Your fellow countryman Tim Minchin has said this before "You know what we call alternative medicine that has been proven to work? Medicine!" My advice is to trust your vet, and if you don't, get another one.
    – DavidG
    Mar 16, 2018 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


Probably too late to be useful for your specific case, but if someone stumbles across this question I'd suggest to try ginger root:

Ginger prevents pro-inflammatory cytokine activity, making it useful for inflammatory conditions, generally. Recent results of a double-blind clinical trial indicated that ginger root was as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Additionally, ginger is much kinder to the equine digestive tract. Ginger is hepato-protective (liver protecting), providing a nice option for long-term pain control.



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