Is the Use of Bisphosphonates Putting Horses at Risk? An Osteoclast Perspective
Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University, 474 S. Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, 736 Wilson Ave, East Lansing, MI 48864, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chris W. Rogers
Received: 3 June 2022
Revised: 26 June 2022
Accepted: 1 July 2022
Published: 3 July 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Equids
Bisphosphonates are a group of drugs that intervene in the bone resorption process, producing cellular death of osteoclasts. These drugs are used for skeletal conditions, such as osteoporosis in humans, and are available for veterinary medical use. Clodronate and tiludronate are bisphosphonates approved for the treatment of navicular syndrome in horses over four years old. However, these drugs are sometimes used in juvenile animals under exercise, where osteoclast activity is higher. Bisphosphonate use in juvenile and/or exercising animals could have adverse effects, including maladaptation to exercise or accumulation of microdamage. Furthermore, bisphosphonates can be bound to the skeleton for several years, resulting in a prolonged effect with no pharmaceutical reversal available. This review presents an overview of osteoclast function and a review of bisphosphonate characteristics, mechanisms of action, and side effects in order to contextualize the potential for adverse/side effects in young or exercising animals.