Phenylbutazone (bute)

What is ‘bute’ and can I use it?

Administration of Phenylbutazone (Bute) to horses is strictly prohibited in any horse which may be destined for human consumption.

Phenylbutazone is a useful Non-steroid Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) for the management of orthopaedic conditions. Conscious of the needs of the veterinary profession and the equine industry, the VMD has authorised products containing this active ingredient; but mindful of food safety issues and the obligations imposed by legislation, the use of these products is restricted to non-food horses only. Horses which have been treated with phenylbutazone must not enter the food chain, and their passports must be signed at Part II of Section IX to indicate that the animal is not intended for human consumption. This is an irreversible decision.

Phenylbutazone also has a detection time of 7 days from racing (BHA) and competitions (FEI), with a withdrawal time of 10 days. Please check the rules of any governing bodies for competitions you may be attending regarding the use and withdrawal times of any medications.

For further information please visit the VMD website at

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