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PICO question

In lame horses affected by osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints (bone spavin), are bisphosphonates more effective than NSAIDs in long-term alleviation of lameness?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Two papers were critically reviewed. There was one field study and a multicentric randomised double-blind placebo control study

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

Each study looked at the effect of either Tiludronate or Firocoxib on alleviation of tarsal lameness. Both Tiludronate and Firocoxib, while administered independently, provided some degree of relief (for up to 120 days) and improved the lameness related to tarsal osteoarthritis


Since no study was found to directly compare the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and bisphosphonates and that none evaluate the long-term effects of these treatment options on lameness, it is not possible to recommend one treatment option over the other to alleviate lameness caused by tarsal osteoarthritis in horses


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Open Access Peer Reviewed