Dr. Portia DeLoache recently wrote an article about Banamine for horse owners that gives a lot of factual information about the drug. First of all, Banamine is a trade name and the drug’s true name is flunixin meglumine, so if your vet says flunixin was given to your horse, it is the same drug.
The first thing that every horse owner needs to know is that you should never give Banamine in the muscle. Although it is approved to give in the muscle, it has been shown in some instances to cause a significant muscle infection that causes the muscle to die and causes severe damage and can even lead to death. I have also seen severe infection occur when people were trying to give Banamine in the vein and missed it, so if you don’t feel confident giving it in the vein, you can give a pill instead.
Banamine does not cause sedation, improve gut motility, or cure colic.
However, many times pain is the cause of decreased gut motility, and if Banamine decreases pain, gut motility can increase. As far as colic, the drug decreases only pain and inflammation and gives the horse’s body time to relieve gas or an impaction if this is the cause of the colic. Banamine or anything else will not be helpful in a colic that requires surgery as only surgery will help those cases.
Also, Banamine is classified as an NSAID like phenylbutazone (bute), and it should never be used with bute, Previcox or another NSAID. All NSAIDs can cause liver, kidney and gastrointestinal damage, so these drugs should only be used when your veterinarian orders them. It should never be used more frequently than every 12 hours because the drug remains in the horse’s body for around 12 hours and more frequent dosing can lead to toxicity, so check with your vet before using Banamine.