Character and duration of pharmacological effects of intravenous isoxsuprine

J. D. Harkins, G. D. Mundy, S. Stanley, W. E. Woods, R. A. Sams, D. R. Richardson, T. Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Isoxsuprine is a therapeutic medication used to treat navicular disease and other lower limb problems in horses and is one of the more frequently detected therapeutic agents in racing horses. In a crossover study, horses were administered isoxsuprine i.v. to determine the character and duration of its pharmacological effects. Isoxsuprine significantly increased heart rate 5-150 min following injection. Unrestrained activity following isoxsuprine treatment was significantly greater than control activity for 105 min after treatment. There was an apparent, although statistically nonsignificant, increased cutaneous blood flow resulting in visible water vapour and sweat production 5-60 min after administration. Initially, there was no difference in skin temperature between control and isoxsuprine treatment values; however, skin temperature decreased below control values 45-120 min after injection. Concurrently, there was a significant decrease in rectal temperature reflecting a decrease in body core temperature. Using infrared thermography, a significant decrease in superficial skin temperature of the front legs occurred 30-240 min after treatment. Isoxsuprine also reduced smooth muscle tone, which was apparent by decreased tone of the internal anal sphincter 10-180 min after treatment. It was concluded that the measurable pharmacological effects of i.v. isoxsuprine are short lived, since none of the above responses were apparent 4 h or more after i.v. administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-326
Number of pages7
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1996


  • Behaviour chamber
  • Heart rate
  • Horse
  • Isoxsuprine
  • Muscle tone
  • Sweat production
  • Temperature
  • Thermography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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