A way to improve or resolve a condition or diagnosis. This might include resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment).

Cost: Under $100

These cost ranges are approximate and may vary from region to region.
Additional charges may also apply.

YOUR VET MAY Recommend

Flunixin Meglumine (Banamine®)

Cost: Under $100

These cost ranges are approximate and may vary from region to region.
Additional charges may also apply.


Flunixin meglumine (Banamine®) is an extremely useful and practical NSAID that is commonly used in equine veterinary practice (and the horse industry) for the treatment of abdominal pain (colic). It is intended to be given orally or intravenously (iv), although many give the IV injectable solution IM.

Flunixin meglumine is also useful for musculoskeletal pain and inflammation but is not used as much as some other NSAIDs for this purpose. It also is known to work well in the treatment of eye inflammation.

Flunixin meglumine has potent anti-inflammatory effects at a lower dose than is required for pain relief.

Flunixin meglumine is of the same drug class as bute, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, the so called NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and works by reducing the formation of prostaglandins, a group of molecules that take part in inflammation, a natural response to injury. These inflammatory pathways also lead to swelling and pain. By reducing prostaglandin formation, pain and inflammation (swelling and redness) are decreased also. Flunixin is also a potent fever reducer and generally makes ill horses feel better.

It's important to know that there are a number of "good" or "house-keeping" prostaglandins that perform protective functions in the body. Flunixin meglumine eliminates these also, and this exposes certain body systems to injury. The two organs in the horse that tend to be damaged by NSAIDS are the intestine and the kidney.

Vets use this drug extensively as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, but with knowledge of flunixin's nature and its potential side effects.

Although this drug requires a vet’s prescription, many horse owners and equestrian professionals keep flunixin meglumine on hand to treat their horses for abdominal pain (colic). Unfortunately, many do not understand the nature of this drug. They do not know what the underlying condition (Diagnosis) is, and they use this drug inappropriately, which can be life-threatening to the horse.

I dispense injectable flunixin meglumine to clients that I trust and with whom I have a valid VCPR (Vet-Client-Patient Relationship), with the understanding that they will call me to discuss the situation before they give this drug to their horse. Medications like flunixin can mask signs of an underlying problem. Recognize that giving this medication will also complicate your vet's interpretation of the horse's problem.

When using this medication for colic pain, it is CRITICAL to remove all feed and monitor how long it takes for a horse's signs of pain to diminish. Pain may recur when the medication wears off. If signs of pain return after you gives your horse one dose of pain medication, the horse probably has a more serious problem and must be examined by a vet. Many horses in colic pain will improve when given this drug. The question is whether pain will recur, and this will depend on the diagnosis of the CCC (Condition Causing Colic).

Flunixin (Banamine) at the appropriate dose is intended to be given IV by a veterinarian. Horse owners regularly give the drug IM, which causes irritation to the tissues. Flunixin meglumine solution can be given orally at the same dose, but it takes longer to act and may not work well in a colic crisis.

my vet's role


Related Diagnoses

This treatment might be used to treat these conditions or ailments.

Very Common
Less Common
more diagnoses


Rarely, when injected into the muscle, a life threatening swelling and infection can result at injection sites, a condition called Clostridial Myositis.

Flunixin meglumine masks the signs of colic pain and other illness, creating a false sense of security and delaying diagnosis and treatment.

This drug reduces fever, a natural body process that has value in combatting infection.

Flunixin can cause gastro-intestinal ulceration and kidney damage. This is especially true when it is given at high doses and muitliple times. This problem is of special concern for dehydrated horses and those that have other underlying illness.

Foals are more susceptible to side effects and so this medication should only be used in foals under direct vet guidance.


Unless under veterinary supervision, flunixin should not be used in horses presumed to be dehydrated, as it can cause kidney failure.

It should be used in small horses and foals only under direct veterinary supervision.

It should not be used a second time, if it has been given once already, without veterinary involvement.

Repeated injections should never be given without veterinary supervision.

your role

Is it working? Timeframe for effect.
Given intravenously, flunixin can help mild colic pain within a few minutes. Its effects wear off in 6-8 hours.

Given intramuscularly (IM), it may take 10-30 minutes to see an improvement in colic signs.

Given orally, it can take 30-60 minutes to see an improvement in colic signs.

If you do not see improvement within these time frames, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Flunixin's pain relieving effects start to subside at 6-8 hours. Horses with mild unresolved intestinal issues will return to pain at that time.

Horses with more severe intestinal conditions may respond only minimally or not at all to the pain relief afforded by flunixin.
Questions To Ask Your Vet:
  • Now that my horse has been given flunixin, what should I look for?
  • Will you dispense flunixin for me to keep on hand for a colic emergency, if I am willing to contact you before administering it?

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP