Side-Effect Free Alternatives to "Bute"!
When I first got started with horses, I used "bute".   Phenylbutazone (a synthetic analgesic) is what everybody used and the vets prescribed readily for most problems.  Later, when I learned that it creates problems in the gut,  I knew I needed to look for alternatives for pain and inflammation management.  

Managing pain and inflammation are a priority when helping your horse to recover from anything!   When these two issues are diminished it allows the animal to initiate their own innate healing.  We can help them when we put things in place that allows them to heal faster and easier.  For example, while learning more about hooves, it became clear that stall rest would create longer healing times and was hard on horses mentally and emotionally.  The faster we can get them comfortable and moving with their herd, the faster the healing time.

I've always been drawn to plants, so I gravitated to plants and herbs as these safer options of pain and inflammation management.  Getting help form a local herbalist, I began using such herbs as yucca, devil's claw and white willow bark.  It became clear that the horses liked these choices too as they never turned their nose up at eating them.  I even found that branches from our willow tree, that had blown down into their track, were readily stripped of leaves and the bark was chewed!  That said a lot to me!  They were seeking out these options on their own. 

Later, I would be introduced to Young Living Essential Oils and would fall in love with how well and how quickly they helped in every situation in which I used them!  One memorable time, I went to trim a horse who was favoring one foot when I arrived.  It was the left hind and he wasn't putting any weight on it.  I asked the owner if I could apply some Wintergreen oil in the hopes that he may feel well enough to allow me to work on the other back foot.  I applied a drop to each of the Ting points on the coronary band.  In seconds that lovely, older gelding swung his head back and said, "Thank You, that feels so much better"!  This is one experience that happened early on when I started using the oils and really solidified my belief in how well and quickly they work (without any ill side effects).  Some of my other favorite oils in theses situations are Clove, Copaiba, Lemongrass, Helichrysum, Panaway and the Orthosport and OrthoEase Massage Oils.

One of the next tools I learned about and acquired was a red light from Photonic Health.  The red light activates cell respiration, releasing nitric oxide and creating energy in the form of ATP(adenosine triphosphate).  This action causes blood vessels to relax and widen allowing for greater blood flow within the tissues.  The increased ATP production allows for better absorption of nutrients, eliminates toxins, triggers release of endorphins, enkephalins, anti-inflammatories, serotonin and more.  I have used this tool on my horses for such things as cuts and scrapes,  hoof issues and puncture wounds to regular wellness care.  It's so easy to use and with the reference books, it makes it even easier!

The most recent option for holistic care that I learned to use is Healing Touch for Animals.  HTA just drew me right in when I first observed it at an holistic care animal conference a few years ago!  Soon after I took the online Level 1 and later went on to take the Level 2 in person, in PA.  What an amazing way to support our horses (and other animals) using specific techniques and being the "tool" in helping to restore their energetic flow and balance.  HTA techniques reduce and eliminate pain, stress and trauma by allowing the relaxation response to occur.  When there is relaxation, the body initiates its own healing response.  Addressing this energetic side of our horses, in my opinion, is the piece that is overlooked in traditional care.  It is the piece, that when cared for, allows the animal to heal themselves faster and more completely.   It is also the piece that when focused on, is a great tool for preventive care.  A balanced energetic system is part of being well and healthy.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful and consider giving one or all a try! 

And if you're not already in it, join my community for more holistic care ways to care for your horses...The Hearts of Horse, Empowering Through Holistic Care.

All the best,


Leave a Comment