Reasons for performing study: Tiludronate regulates bone remodelling through a decrease of the resorptive process and should therefore ameliorate the remodelling processes active in osteoarthritis of the distal tarsal joints ('bone spavin') and alleviate pain associated with abnormal bone lysis.
Objective: To confirm the efficacy of tiludronate, administered as a single infusion at a dose of 1 mg/kg bwt, in the treatment of bone spavin in the horse.
Methods: A double blind placebo controlled trial on 108 clinical cases of bone spavin was undertaken. The lameness score of the lamest limb was assessed following distal tarsal analgesia of the contralateral limb and followed-up using the same procedure throughout the study. Bone spavin in the lamest limb was confirmed by distal tarsal analgesia and radiography. Horses were treated at Day 0 and reassessed 60 days later after controlled exercise. A second nonblinded treatment was given to unresponsive horses and all horses were re-examined at Day 120. Exercise levels were recorded at each examination.
Results: Eighty-seven horses completed the trial as per the protocol. The tiludronate horses were significantly less lame than the placebo horses (P = 0.0318). Horses treated at Day 60 with tiludronate showed further improvement in lameness at Day 120 (P = 0.0096 and P = 0.0034 for horses treated with tiludronate and placebo at Day 0, respectively). The only significant difference in radiographic findings between tiludronate and placebo was for presence of periarticular osteophytes (P = 0.006).
Conclusions: Tiludronate treatment is proven to be effective in bone spavin in horses in association with a controlled exercise programme.
Clinical relevance: Tiludronate in combination with controlled exercise offers an alternate medical treatment for bone spavin.