Chance began another round of Excede to get his scratches under control- it is a never ending battle. A while back, I had a skin scrape of Chance’s scratches due to their chronic nature. The scrape results showed a number of bacteria, all commonly seen with this type of infection, that were resistant to most antibiotics. Thus why we decided to try Excede.
Administering Excede is pretty straight forward- 1 shot IM every 4 days for about a month. Easy enough….or so I thought. The first shot was administered by the vet when I was not present. The second shot the vet also administered while I was there. Thirty minutes after the shot was given to Chance I noticed he seemed off but not in his “normal” post-acupuncture relaxed state. He suddenly became lethargic, he wouldn’t eat his dinner, and the gut noises became almost nonexistent. I commented to the vet my concerns and she came over and reexamined him. Sure enough something was wrong. She proceeded to administer 10cc of Banamine (just in case it was colic) and told me to walk him around outside for about 20-30 minutes. Then see if he would eat 2 cups of feed only. We walked and Chance began to act like his normal happy go lucky self. Once inside he started to eat!
Part of me felt that his reaction was a fluke. However, the third dose proved me wrong. Four days later, Chance received his shot and went outside to enjoy the first beautiful, warm day. I sat in the field watching him. He was sluggish, lethargic, stiff..he looked 10 years older and barely moved from one spot under a tree. He wasn’t eating grass nor did he run around and play- he didn’t even run up to me like he normally would. I decided to bring him inside and give him a warm bath since it was in the high 70’s. He was non responsive to his bath- no playing with the hose or even accepting peppermints. I placed a cooler on him to ensure he stayed warm until he was out in the sunshine. I figured after a bath he would perk up- again, I was wrong. At dinner time I went to bring him in and typically I will open up the gait and he will canter into his stall- he slowly walked instead. He wouldn’t eat his feed (he normally whinnies and makes a fuss until he gets his feed and devours it) or his hay…I stayed and watched him for a while and he just slept. I spoke to John, the guy who helps me with Chance and Lucky, and he confirmed that Chance hadn’t been finishing his feed and wasn’t running when he brought him in for dinner.
My concerns grew and I decided to do some research on Excede. That strange thing is I usually do extensive research before changing or administering anything with my animals. But, for some reason I did not do so this time and I wish I had.
According to a number of reputable websites, Excede can cause significant and dangerous side-effects such as; diarrhea, severe acid reflux, blood coming from mouth, loss of appetite, lethargy, muscle and gait stiffness, and more.
The most troubling of everything that I read wasn’t what was posted on the Pfizer (the manufacturer) website but from the countless statements given by horse owners and the studies done by outside companies.
According to drugs.com, “in the PK study, several horses developed clinical signs consistent with foot pain (stiff in the front limbs when turned in tight circles, and increased pulses and heat to the front feet). One horse in the NAXCEL group and one horse in the 6.0 mg/lb (2X) EXCEDE group were euthanized due to laminitis. Clinical signs of foot pain (stiff front limbs and increased heat and pulses in feet) affected more horses, for a longer period of time, in all EXCEDE-treated groups as compared to the NAXCEL-treated group. The study housing (multi-horse pens on concrete slabs) and diet (free choice alfalfa/grass mix and once a day pellets) may have contributed to the development of foot pain. The prevalence and severity of injection site reactions in EXCEDE-treated horses may also have contributed to the development of a stiff gait. A causal relationship between ceftiofur and foot pain could not be definitively determined.”
The research has revealed that Excede should be used with caution and the horse receiving the medication must be monitored. Make sure to weigh the benefits and risks before starting Excede. This drug can be lifesaving for many horses but for others, it can be life-threatening.