Hoofcare and Lameness Journal first reported on the clinical trials of the drug tiludronate ("Tildren") about five years ago, when it was first tested on horses with navicular disease under the supervision of one of consulting editors, Jean Marie Denoix DVM PhD Agrege, of France.
Dr. Denoix's team recently tested Tildren on 29 horses with back pain caused by lesions in the vertebrae, as documented in radiographs. Such lesions are common in many horses. Fifteen horses were given Tildren and 14 horses received a control substance, and the horses were monitored for 120 days. This was a similar protocol to the navicular disease study. The horses given Tildren were significantly improved after 60 days.
That is a gross oversimplification of the study, which was published in the March 2007 edition of the American Journal of Veterinary Research.
Tildren is currently not sold in the United States but is being used by some veterinarians in trial situations within FDA guidelines. Fortunately, the drug is being tested near here at the New England Equine Medical Center, by Dr. Michael Davis, and I've been able to follow its progress. So far, all the news is good...except for the price, of course!
Tildren has been used successfully for navicular bone lesions and hock spavin. Hopes have been high for its use in demineralization of the coffin bone but I don't think there is any documentation of tests for that problem. Denoix's new study opens up the area of the back and makes one wonder about using it for neck and sacroiliac pain...but I'm sure he's working on that!
Photo: Michael Davis DVM MS of New England Equine Medical and Surgical Center has been using Tildren on carefully-screened US horses. Fran Jurga photo.