Question: I need to find a safe alternative to bute.  Do you think that the product Uckele Devils Claw Plus would be effective for horses with ringbone?  I have one 20 yr. old gelding with high and low ringbone in the RF foot and one 22 yr. old gelding with low ringbone in the RH foot.  Both horses are very healthy and well maintained.  Still ride the 22 year old.  Thank you.

Dr. Kellon: Yes, Devil's Claw Plus should work very well for you for you and you can safely feed double or triple dose when needed.

If they have been on phenylbutazone for a prolonged time it is best to slower taper off to avoid rebound pain. Cut the dose in half every two or three days until you are down to half a gram once daily then give that twice a stop.

Question: Thank you for your swift response.  I neglected to mention that my two horses also receive (NASC approved brand) daily oral joint supplements which contain:
Glucosamine 10,000mg, Chondroitin sulfate (low molecular weight) 1200mg, HA 100-150mg, Boswellia serrata 130mg, MSM 20,000mg,  Vitamin C 7000mg daily.

The 22 year old gelding also gets (20) 20mg tablets of Isoxsuprine daily for the past 6 months.  He showed dramatic improvement in gait and soundness within the first week of starting him on it.

Each horse has been getting 1gm Bute per day, ongoing / long-term.  I understand about weaning them off of it.  However, should I continue with my current oral joint supplements and add the Devils Claw Plus?  Are there contraindications?  Also, would you recommend administering an oral gastric support product, like Ulcer Gard, in the short-term?

By the way, your book "The Older Horse" has been an invaluable go-to reference resource for me for decades!

Dr. Kellon: There are no contraindications for using the DC Plus with your joint supplement or the isoxuprine.

You won't need the Ulcer Gard. I have never seen, nor heard of, gastric issues when using Devil's Claw, even in horses with proven gastric ulcers.