Using Lasix …

Is it safe to give your horse Lasix (about 1.5 cc) more than once a week, almost every week?Is it safe to give your horse Lasix (about 1.5 cc) more than once a week, almost every week?

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dear Dr. Lowder:

Is it safe to give your horse Lasix (about 1.5 cc) more than once a week, almost every week?

I have a 16 Quarter Horse gelding, never ran on the track. I have been barrel racing on him for 10+ years. Last year he got a bad cough in the spring. The vet did an endioscope (sp?) and found an irritation and swelling in this throat. He put him on antihistamines. The cough went away, but he started bleeding when we ran. He had bled maybe twice in the 10 years prior, but now it was every time.

It isn’t the same nostril and it’s only a small trickle. He would cough bloody phlegm, also. The vet suggested Lasix, then he had no problems. Many of the people I run with said Lasix is too hard on their system and suggested Xantex. It stopped the bleeding but not the phlegm, so I went back to the Lasix. Now I only use it if I’m running two or three days in a row.

Can you suggest an alternative, or is Lasix safe enough to use for an indefinite period of time?

Thank you for your time and help in this matter.

Shelly Roberts

Shelly,

The first thing you have to do is not listen to the "people". Lasix is a diuretic. The mechanism of action is unknown when it come to treating bleeders with it. There are no long term studies as to the ill effects of this drug.

But you have to remember that most people don’t want to know either. Your horse should be find. Check with the vet you are getting the Lasix from!

Thanks,
Dr. Lowder