What do vets use Dexamethasone for?

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What do vets use Dexamethasone for?

This is a discussion on What do vets use Dexamethasone for? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Dexamethasone for horses in colic
  • Can dexamethasone be given to a yearling

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  • 1 Post By themacpack
  • 1 Post By RedHorseRidge

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    01-01-2013, 08:58 AM
Question What do vets use Dexamethasone for?

This maybe a newbie question but what do vet's use Dexamethasone for? I was looking at our recently purchased horse's vet record/bill that I received from the previous owner and I noticed that when the vet did his spring vaccines he also billed for 15 cc of dexamethasone. When I googled it, it came up as a powerful steriod used for allergies and heaves. Since the previous owner said the horse had no health problems and the PPE vet didn't say anything about heaves I am assuming it was used for something else. What other uses are there?
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    01-01-2013, 09:29 AM
Green Broke
Even though it has been known to bring on laminitis in some instances, some vets will use "The Dex Test" to test a horse for cushings or other metabolic issues.

If you didn't run across this link when you Googled, it may be helpful.


The bottom line is that Dex is not something that should be used on a horse in an off-hand/ho-hum manner.

If you think the Seller would be co-operative, I would just flat out call and ask why the horse was given Dex - hopefully they would know that Dex was administered to their horse but don't be surprised if they honestly don't or feign surprise
    01-01-2013, 09:37 AM
Green Broke
There are various uses - some that would give me pause as to the horse, and others that would not. If the contact information for the vet is on the records you were given, I would just contact the vet and ask for the reason for THIS specific instance.
It also seems, from your other thread, that the horse is currently under vet care for a lameness issue - you can show the current vet the record and get his/her opinion on why a vet would choose that particular protocol.
walkinthewalk likes this.
    01-01-2013, 10:46 AM
I was thinking about asking our current vet since you are correct, we are dealing with a chronic lameness issue right now. I was also thinking about calling previous vet but I didn't want to do either if this was a common place thing and I just didn't know about such things because I am a newbie. It seems like I am right to wonder why it is on the vet record. Thanks.
    01-01-2013, 11:56 AM
Green Broke
If the horse had a bad reaction to the vaccinations or spring allergies, I suppose dex could have been given to counter any reaction, but most vets won't use dex the same time vaccinations are given as it can interfere with the vaccination response in the horse. I'd sure what to know...
Cherie likes this.
    01-01-2013, 12:05 PM
I have seen it used for severe heaves/hives (COPD) and to pretreat horses with allergic reactions to vaccines. Some owners demand it be done before vaccines, even if its not 100% required. If your horse got it prior to vaccines I would guess that it was used to pretreat. The horse may have had colic after vaccines and it was given dex to prevent it.

Edit to add: I agree with Redhorseridge. Call the vet they may not be able to give you the answers but its worth a shot. Call the seller and ask them to okay the release of the medical records. Its your horse, you should and have the right to know about all the skeletons in the closet.

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