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Review

Is the Use of Bisphosphonates Putting Horses at Risk? An Osteoclast Perspective

1
Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University, 474 S. Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2
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
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1722; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131722
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.
Osteoclasts are unique and vital bone cells involved in bone turnover. These cells are active throughout the individual’s life and play an intricate role in growth and remodeling. However, extra-label bisphosphonate use may impair osteoclast function, which could result in skeletal microdamage and impaired healing without commonly associated pain, affecting bone remodeling, fracture healing, and growth. These effects could be heightened when administered to growing and exercising animals. Bisphosphonates (BPs) are unevenly distributed in the skeleton; blood supply and bone turnover rate determine BPs uptake in bone. Currently, there is a critical gap in scientific knowledge surrounding the biological impacts of BP use in exercising animals under two years old. This may have significant welfare ramifications for growing and exercising equids. Therefore, future research should investigate the effects of these drugs on skeletally immature horses. View Full-Text
Keywords: bisphosphonates; osteoclast; bone; resorption; analgesic; anti-inflammatory; equine; juvenile; exercise bisphosphonates; osteoclast; bone; resorption; analgesic; anti-inflammatory; equine; juvenile; exercise
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vergara-Hernandez, F.B.; Nielsen, B.D.; Colbath, A.C. Is the Use of Bisphosphonates Putting Horses at Risk? An Osteoclast Perspective. Animals 2022, 12, 1722. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131722

AMA Style

Vergara-Hernandez FB, Nielsen BD, Colbath AC. Is the Use of Bisphosphonates Putting Horses at Risk? An Osteoclast Perspective. Animals. 2022; 12(13):1722. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131722

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vergara-Hernandez, Fernando B., Brian D. Nielsen, and Aimee C. Colbath. 2022. "Is the Use of Bisphosphonates Putting Horses at Risk? An Osteoclast Perspective" Animals 12, no. 13: 1722. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131722

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