Monday, August 12th, 2013 | Filed under Medical

Many of us have seen this photo around FaceBook…

I’d like to expand on it a bit so we understand what the photo means.

Horse suffering from Clostridial Myositis:  gas gangrene.

Horse suffering from Clostridial Myositis: gas gangrene.

Basically, if you take the risk of giving a shot of Banamine into the muscle, you have the probability of infecting your horse with Clostridial Myositis – gas gangrene – which is most often fatal, FAST.


I found the original article about Malcolm and his battle with Clostridial Myositis (and the update) originally posted here.

Click image to go to the original story

Click image to go to the original story

Click image to see original story.

Click image to see original story.

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 8.13.47 PM Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 8.13.57 PM Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 8.14.08 PM

Click image to go to original story

Click image to go to original story

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 8.14.26 PM



And then I saw another horrible photo and another article… Here is the link to the original story.

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 8.36.11 PM

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 8.36.28 PM



I did see that one treatment is a Hyperbaric Chamber.  I’m not sure why this wasn’t mentioned in the above articles… but I added a snippet here.  Good to know.

Click to go to website

Click to go to website

Clostridial Myositis and Myonecrosis (Gas Embolism)

      Clostridial myositis and myonecrosis is an acute, rapidly progressive infection of the soft tissues commonly known as “gas gangrene.”  The infection is caused by one of several bacteria in the group known as “clostridium.”  While over 150 species of clostridium have been identified, only a few commonly cause gas gangrene.  The infection typically spreads from a discrete focus of clostridium within the body.  The original source can actually be within the body, as clostridium normally live in the gastrointestinal tract.  Alternatively, the infection can originate outside the body, such as when infection results from contamination of wounds during trauma (e.g. motor vehicle accidents).

      Gas gangrene infection is severe and can advance quickly.  Besides replicating and migrating, the organisms which cause gas gangrene produce poisons known as exotoxins.  Exotoxins are capable of liquefying adjacent tissue and inhibiting local defense mechanisms which might normally contain a less virulent infection.  As such, the advancing infection of gas gangrene may simply destroy healthy tissue in its path and spread over the course of hours.

      Clostridium bacteria are “anaerobic,” meaning that they prefer low oxygen concentrations to grow.  If clostridium are exposed to high amounts of oxygen, their replication, migration, and exotoxin production can be inhibited.  This is the rationale for the use of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of gas gangrene.  Repeated treatment in the hyperbaric chamber has the potential to slow the progress of the infection while the two primary therapies, antibiotics and surgical resection of infected tissue, control it.

      The advantages of hyperbaric oxygen treatment in gas gangrene are two-fold.  First, it may be life-saving because exotoxin production is rapidly halted and less heroic surgery may be needed in gravely ill patients.  Second, it may be limb and tissue-saving, possibly preventing limb amputation that might otherwise be necessary.

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

32 comments have been posted...

  1. Murphy Brown

    I have always given it in the muscle with no problem. this is scary.

  2. Julia Hovey

    It’s unfortunate that hydrogen pyroxide is not approved for medical use. I had a young gelding who developed an infected coffin bone from an impact injury; surgery was the only option offered by my vet, with only a 10% chance of functional recovery (i.e. he would be functionally sound and rideable). I contacted a naturopathic physician that I knew, and got three IV bags with H2O and a buffer added; gave one bag by IV every other day. Within the week he was no longer limping and the swelling and inflammation was nearly gone. The peroxide treatment is most effective against anaerobic bacteria, which would make it the best answer to this type of infection; however, since it has not been approved by the FDA for such treatment, even naturopathic doctors can no longer use it, at risk of losing their license! This is a very viable AND inexpensive form of treatment that SHOULD be made available for treatment of otherwise difficult infections!

  3. Pam

    My vet has said that this is generally not a risk with a new bottle of banamine – only with previously used bottles.

    I am lucky to have friends at the barn who know how to give an IV dose. I rely on paste if I have to do it.

  4. Roger Jensen

    We lost a horse a several years ago with the same deal the horse got a real high fever, and bubbles under the that had a crackle feel to it and he was in real pain. He lasted about 24 hours. We got him to a very good Vet but it was to late. The vet kept him that night and he died in the night. So wish the procedure was around then. He was a beautiful 5 year old Through bred with lots of potential. At that time our Vet said it may have been a hair got under the skin or a piece of needle flaked off’ SAD

  5. Dede Thompson

    When in any doubt just go with the banamine paste. Yes takes a little longer but if you do not know what you are doing dont do it. It is like taking your child into the doctor and the receptionist giving your child an injection. I understand you have to learn this stuff but learn through your veterinarian. If you are giving an injection that is supposed to IV when you pull back on your needle and no blood. That means NO VEIN. plus horses jump and you can come out of that vein check again by pulling back. This is a real animal not a game of operation to see if you can get the frog out of throat..Ugggg

  6. Lynn

    hi, i had to put my ottb down in march supposedly due to clostridial myositis. last year she had a slight case of cellulitis in hind right leg but as said it was slight and it went down quickly with meds. this march was a different story. she started walking funny, as if she had slipped her stifle. we even guessed maybe it was nuerological. this was before i called vet. when she had the slight case last year she only looked like she was a little bit lame or whatever. anyway this time it was in same leg. she had not gotten any shots and i washed her leg up and down real good and seen no wounds or nothing. at first her leg was normal and it was just her walking really odd. then it started to blow up. from bottom first then it went up all way to her thigh. it got so bad that after a week, she couldn’t walk and shed put all her weight on other leg (which in turn started to swell due to all the weight so i had to worry about laminitis in that). she also had a fever on and off etc. the vet i had called was giving her meds, which we changed a few times since nothing was working. we were guessing cellulitis once the leg was blowing up and since she had a slight case in same leg last year. i during this time i thought and even said we should do xrays but vet said it wasnt necessary. i had a vet that was fresh out of college. i got fed up of no change and switched doctors. we tried some diff meds and a iv. she looked a lil more perky and ate some (she during this whole period didnt eat much and lost a good amount of weight). but just like the fever it was on and off. we were wrapping basically the whole leg. then one daythere was a hole on the inside of her hock oozing nasty stuff. i called vet immediately and she decided to do xrays like i had mentioned to last vet. she found gas bubbles all up and down the leg. her guess was clostridial myositis. said only way really to get this was deep wound or from shots. but i just dont get it because she had neither. not last year or this time. at least not in that area. unless some nut job came to farm and stuck a needle in her. i dont know. but she called the clinic and asked if there was anything we can do. and there was with the surgery with cutting into their skin like above but chances of her surviving is slim to none. that clostridial myositis is rare. i decided it was best to put her down. because i thought even if she survives … cellulitis can come back. i didnt want to see her in pain no more so i thought it was best. but the whole situation racks my brain because i dont know why and how it would of come up for her in her case. all i ever see on google is when it happens in the neck from a banimine shot. if anyone has had similiar/same experiences please share with me.

  7. mary gary

    great article. I knew about this condition occurring with vermectin injections but not banimin, my grand daughter shows steers at local fairs and shows. she was precribedl banimin for one of her steers. the brousure instructed it to be given between the hide and muscle, not im. no bad effects but wonder what the thought is on doing the same with horses and any studies covering this method?

  8. Pamela Riley

    This happened to our mare. It was caused by an injection given (neck area) shortly after foaling. She was very quickly diagnosed & treated with a hyperbaric pump. It took about a month before she was released from the hospital… fine now but what an ordeal

  9. jessica

    To all of you saying that you don’t believe it’s the drug that did this, or understand why they are saying it is linked to certain drugs DID NOT read the article. Banamine and other drugs are tissue irritants which increases the risk of this happening.

    YES you can give IM and never have this happen, but why risk it when there are other methods? IV injections absorb faster and relieve pain faster.

  10. William Lopez

    Using Banamine iv is absorbed faster and inflamation or gas bateria risk minimize but you need to know how to do it .I will rather give it oral vs im all day long in my 45 years of experience I have seen it all but if IM is the only way make sure the site is scrub sterile and hopefully you will be ok.

  11. Linda

    This has never happened to me after 45 years of training.
    Thanks for the information. When in doubt, use your vet.

  12. Sherry

    never reuse a needle or syringe with anything you are giving a horse always make sure everything is sterile.

  13. Christy Burton

    Clostridial refers to the bacteria genus Clostridium. You’ve heard of this bacterium in a number of different infection types. Myo is from the latin word for muscle, itis is inflammation. It’s also called gas gangrene. In order to get this type of infection two conditions have to be met:
    1. The bacteria has to be present
    2. There has to be circulatory failure in a local area or by extensive soft tissue damage and necrotic muscle tissue. This condition results in an area with low Oxygen where the anaerobic clostridial spores can develop into the vegetative form.
    An improperly cleansed injection site is what I suspect, because Clostridium spores occur naturally everywhere.

  14. linda

    had this happen to a horse of mine from a puncture from a crabapple thorn….in the middle of winter. He pulled through thanks to the wonderful care from my vet and daughter. What a nightmare!!

  15. Katie

    While a bacterial infection can occur following any intramuscular injection, it is particularly risky when injecting Banamine because it devitalizes the muscle tissue. Necrotic tissue is the perfect playground for bacteria because there is no blood supply to carry white blood cells to fight the infection. Irritating substances like Banamine should be injected intravenously instead.

  16. Cheryl Person

    Read the information, yes it is rare and yes we have all given thousands of banamine shots IM but it DOES happen and it is truly awful and expensive! Despite clean needle, clean site, it happened. It only takes once for you to be cured, but why wait for that one time on your precious horse, find an alternative. Smugness might just bite you in the butt some day! FYI, many are saying to use the liquid orally, just be aware it is irritating and may cause mouth ulcers so if you need to use it more than once orally, go get the paste. If your horse quits eating after the IM Banamine is given orally, that might be why.

  17. justin

    I have give thousands banamine in the muscle never had anything happen until the other day I had this happen it was crazy I always heard this but never had anything close happen

  18. Shannon

    I agree that it’s not the banamine itself, but how the shot is given. My student had a horse that ended up with severe abscess in the neck and could’ve easily have had this happen because the prior owner, just a day before my student took the horse, gave him either banamine or another shot and our vet was sure it was that she didn’t use a clean needle/syringe etc. It isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen. The other time a horse yanked away while being given the shot and ended up with infection/abscess also. So the key is to have a very experienced person giving the shots, always make sure to use a new/sterile needle, wash hands and clean the horses skin/hair beforehand, and if the horse is a nervous type about shots then do it another way(oral etc). I’m sure sometimes this is possible for this infection posted above to happen anyway and maybe a result of the drug used but probably very very rare and I’d say in general it is HOW the drug is administered not the drug itself. It’s common sense to be careful about giving your horse any shot. Take the time to really clean your stuff well and do what each individual horse needs. I have horses great with shots that I can do without my vet & I have some there’s no way I’d try to shoot them up with anything without out my vet present.

  19. Judith

    Thanks for the info. It is important for us horse owners to keep upto date on the issues concerning horse health. I am greatful that there are people out there that are awear of issues. I didnot know until recently that injectable banamine can be given orally ( into the horses mouth without a needle ofcourse) with the same effect as an injection and might act quicker as the oral mucosa absorbs the med and send it to the painful area quickly.

  20. Barbi Dunham

    I think what most of the comments are not taking into consideration is that bacteria is an evolving organism. Therefore, what you may have done before and gotten away with may be changing now. Take care if you are doing your own shots and read up on it. It could save your horses life. Some of these bacteria, just like in humans, are coming on strong and in strange forms.

  21. Karen

    OMG this is awful. I gave my Horse a Banamine shot last year inter-muscular for an undiagnosed condition. He ended up just fine, I would have been beside myself if this had occurred. Just knowing this can happen I will not do that EVER again. !!! Thanx for the Info!!!

  22. Willow Rose

    I am the proud owner of a miracle horse! He, as well as many of my other horses, have had many Banamine injections over the years. I love what Banamine does. So much that we put it in gel caps and take it for inflammation when WE need it. However, this past year, I have had troubles with Banamine reactions with my miracle horse. I got some swelling at the injection sites and some heavy sweating or perspiring, some of which were 6 to 8 inches in length and about 2 inches wide. It’s scared me enough that I have been avoiding giving him Banamine. Then I saw your all’s article and it has confirmed that I need to inject in the vein even though it says safe for intramuscular use. So that’s what I will do from now on if I need to use Banamine. It’s not worth it to take a chance on something this awful happening to this fantastic horse. Your FB page is very informative. Thank you for all the information!!

  23. amy

    my horse was given a shoot of Banamine into the muscle of her neck three months ago after she jumped the fence and got a Tpost in the chest and she did fine and she is still doing good …. i do not thank it is the Banamine in the muscle of the horse that is the problem here ! i have never seen this happen to any horses of mine or any that i know , I thank there is something more here that is not being said

  24. Jen

    I have given several I injections of banamine, both IM and IV. This has never happened to anyone I know or have heard of.

  25. Robin Churchill

    Clostridial myositis is caused by bacterial contamination not by specific drugs. It can occur with any injection or penetrating soft tissue injury for that matter. What people need to be careful about is the proper handling of injectable medications particularly multi-use vials.

  26. Rikki

    If it’s due to a bacteria, why is it linked to specific drugs? This does not make sense actually. It seems that if it’s a bacteria, it could happen to any formulation that is injected into the muscle, unless banamine and the other drugs mentioned inherently contact this specific bacteria, which is unlikely. What is the specific link to banamine? Just curious…

  27. Marge Mullen

    We have always used penicillin for this and it worked great!
    Also many soldiers died from this during World War 1 prior to penicillin.

  28. dawndi Post author

    I am going to visit her today… I do not know how she is other than ‘stable’. My vet, Dr.E was also on vacation last week so my updates
    were very sterile from the other technicians there. In short, I don’t know how she is…

  29. Dawn Stephens


    Thanks for the informative article. I read your blog religiously every morning. However, I think we’ve been extraordinarily patient this last week (loved hearing about your trip to RLazyS – we’re planning a trip there ourselves now after reading your reports). I think I speak for all of us – How is Mama Tess? It made tears come to my eyes reading the repost of your Hubby’s blog and his description of MT in it. I do pray that she is doing better and that the lack of information is not due to bad news.

    Love from all of us at TinaJo’sPromise!

    Dawn, Tina Jo and Nathaniel

  30. KD Huff

    I just gave my horse a Banamine shot in her neck muscle last week. :-( I did see this on FB, but didn’t know how prevalent it was. I am going to print this detailed info that you have provided to talk with my vet. Thanks!

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