7 Things you DIDN'T Know About DMSO For Horses - The Horses Guide (2022)

What is DMSO Used for in Horses?

DMSO for Horses (or Dimethyl sulfoxide as it is more formally known) seems to be a “wonder drug” that reportedly has some therapeutic benefits on horse patients. DMSO for horses can already be beneficial but combined with certain other drugs, the health effects are amplified. In addition, it is known for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects on horses. Many veterinarians and horse owners support using DMSO in horses because of the many testimonials about its efficacy.

7 Things you DIDN'T Know About DMSO For Horses - The Horses Guide (1)

How to Use DMSO for Horses

It is not surprising that many horse owners are still wondering, “What is DMSO used for in horses?” Dimethyl sulfoxide had its roots in paper manufacturing, where it was used as an industrial solvent. It is sourced from wood pulp. Eventually, DMSO became recognized as a useful substance in the veterinary field.

There are three ways by which you can use DMSO in horses. First, it is available as DMSO gel for horses which can be applied topically (on the horse’s skin). Second, you can buy it also as a liquid for nasogastric or intravenous dosages. Finally, most of the time, the substance is used for its anti-inflammatory qualities though many people have discovered other uses for it as well.

What is truly remarkable about Dimethyl sulfoxide is that it can help other veterinary medications work more effectively within the body of an equine patient. But since it is a relatively strong substance, it is advisable to use it only under the guidance of a veterinarian.

7 Surprising Facts About DMSO Use in Equines

Before you can learn what DMSO is used for in horses, it may be necessary to know some vital information about the substance. That way you will understand what it is good for.

First, the biological effects of DMSO application on human skin were discovered by accident. Workers who were using the DMSO noticed that if the substance accidentally splattered on their hands, they would almost immediately develop a pungent taste on their tongues.

Chemists decided to investigate this phenomenon, and eventually, DMSO was found to have therapeutic value for animals, specifically horses.

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Second, DMSO is actually an antioxidant that can inhibit inflammation. It is classified as an NSAID or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It works by limiting the influence of “free radicals” that can kill the patient’s body’s healthy cells. When free radicals are allowed to increase in number, they can encourage more inflammation. This is the most important value of DMSO in horses.

Third, DMSO for horses serves as a diuretic because it attracts water. This is because the substance is termed a “hygroscopic” compound. That is why a horse that is being dosed with DMSO will often urinate a lot. This explains why DMSO is used in illnesses like West Nile Encephalitis to reduce the spinal cord and brain inflammation and acute pulmonary edema.

Fourth, Dimethyl sulfoxide remarkably allows certain other substances to “piggyback” through the cell membrane of the patient’s body. This means those other substances become more effective within the body of the patient. Without DMSO in horses, it would be much harder to treat the animal patient with these substances.

Fifth, DMSO for horses has analgesic properties meaning it serves as a kind of painkiller for animal patients. However, the pain relief is only active for a few hours. Therefore, the veterinarian may choose to combine the DMSO with some other analgesic drugs to prolong the pain relief effect. (When all the drugs have worn off, normal nerve function will resume leading to the onset of pain again).

Sixth, you may want to check if you can use DMSO for horses if you intend to enter the animal in horse show competitions. Some equine organizations, such as the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) classify DMSO as a controlled substance. This means your horse should have only the permitted threshold of DMSO in its system when the animal joins the competition.

Lastly, more research needs to be done about DMSO and its use in the treatment of horses. At the moment, not enough is known about the drug and its side effects, if any. So it is best to proceed with caution if your veterinarian is unsure how to use DMSO for horses. You may also consult more experienced veterinarians if the horse is very ill or traumatized.

Is DMSO Safe For Horses?

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved the use of DMSO in horses. Many veterinarians have also tried DMSO for their patients with satisfactory results. However, bear in mind that more research has to be done to find more information about the substance and its effects on horses.

It is especially crucial to check for the possible consequences when the veterinarian combines Dimethyl sulfoxide with other drugs and substances. Some veterinarians are bolder when it comes to this, while others might be more cautious. If you are in doubt, you may consult more experienced veterinarians who have used DMSO in horses before with safe results.

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(Incidentally, some medical professionals might recommend the use of this substance on human patients. This does not prove, though, that the substance is automatically safe.)

Precautions for Using DMSO in Equines

One aspect of DMSO horse applications is that the presence of DMSO can heighten or prolong the effects of other drugs. That is why in some horse competitions, DMSO is not permitted at certain threshold levels. As a result, the amount of some substances in the test sample of your horse may seem higher than the permissible level when DMSO is present.

Another crucial practice is to be sure you are using the substance the right way with the most appropriate drug delivery mechanism. This means that you may get some great results with DMSO gel for horses when applied topically. However, you may then find out there is another set of results when using DMSO cream for horses instead.

If you are unsure how to use DMSO for horses, starting with relatively smaller doses is best. Both neophyte horse owners and inexperienced veterinarians should bear this in mind. Though DMSO is FDA-approved, you may need help from more experienced veterinarians in determining the correct dosage for a particular illness or veterinary condition.

How Does DMSO For Horses Work?

If you intend to apply DMSO gel or DMSO cream for horses on your animal, the first thing you have to do is clean the body part where it will be used. This is because there is the risk that foreign substances may “piggyback” on the DMSO itself into the deep tissue of the animal. If those foreign substances are harmful, naturally, that would also harm the animal patient.

However, DMSO can be a boon and a potent tool in the veterinarian’s array of veterinary solutions when used wisely. It has many documented uses and possibly other applications that have yet to be discovered by mainstream veterinary practitioners. Topical applications such as DMSO gel for horses are just one method.

When DMSO is administered into the animal via intravenous tubes or injection, the intention is usually to reduce internal inflammation. This could be necessary because there is some trauma to the site or even oxygen deprivation. So the inflammation has to be reduced. At the same time, DMSO will attract water to itself so that the swelling in the tissue will be lessened.

7 Things you DIDN'T Know About DMSO For Horses - The Horses Guide (2)
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All The Properties of Dimethyl sulfoxide

As mentioned, Dimethyl sulfoxide has certain properties that have veterinary care value. You already know that DMSO can reduce the inflammation within horses’ body parts, such as their legs. (Those who are uncertain how to use DMSO on horses’ legs may just need to rely on DMSO cream for horses or DMSO gel, for starters).

The diuretic effects of Dimethyl sulfoxide also help address the swelling in the body part by pulling out surplus water. This helps make DMSO a good painkiller since lowering the swelling means less stress on the surrounding nerves. (Incidentally, this is also why some veterinarians may use it on arthritic patients).

DMSO is considered an anti-oxidant, so it keeps in check the proliferation of free radicals harmful to living tissue. It is believed that free radicals may be to blame for the death of healthy cells. On the other hand, there are cryogenic effects, so DMSO can sometimes be used to transport frozen body parts.

There are other illnesses or conditions that DMSO can control, such as the following:

  • Shingles
  • Neuralgia
  • Neuritis
  • Acne
  • Insect bites

Precautions, Side Effects, and Contraindications of DMSO in Horses

As with any other controlled substance, anyone administering Dimethyl sulfoxide should handle it with care. This means you should wear gloves so that the DMSO gel or cream does not touch your skin.

Remember that DMSO passes quickly through the skin and underlying tissue, making its way into your bloodstream in a short span of time. This means you could experience side effects very soon if the DMSO touches your skin.

7 Things you DIDN'T Know About DMSO For Horses - The Horses Guide (3)

Generally, the DMSO gel may be applied on horse patients between two to three times daily. The maximum dosage per day should not exceed 100 grams. The longest time for this therapy is only 30 days.

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However, the dosage amount may differ from patient to patient, depending on the veterinarian’s judgment administering the substance.

Some side effects may be experienced, such as the following:

  • Transient erythema, in relation to local smarting or burning
  • Vesiculation
  • Drying of the skin
  • Changes in mouth odor
  • Refractive index of eye lens may change (in relation to dosage size and duration of therapy)
  • Nuclear cataracts (concerning dosage size and duration of treatment)

It is advisable for the veterinarian to be sure of how to use DMSO for horses. Otherwise, you may want to consult a more knowledgeable and experienced veterinarian first regarding the dosage amount, application method, and treatment duration.

Summary

Many people love horses, which can be distressing when your horse comes down with some veterinary illnesses or health conditions. DMSO (or Dimethyl sulfoxide) is one veterinary product that seems to resolve the symptoms of certain veterinary diseases or health conditions quite well.

It is not, however, a perfect drug meaning it should not be thought of as a “cure-all” substance. Generally, it serves well as an anti-inflammatory and diuretic drug that can be used on horses relatively safely. You will want to consult a veterinarian who has had years of experience safely using this drug if you intend to try it out on your horse.

The good news is that DMSO (or Dimethyl sulfoxide) is deemed more acceptable in the veterinary field because the US Food and Drug Administration has certified it. There are also many testimonials from horse owners and veterinarians regarding the benefits of using DMSO for horses.

This may encourage more horse owners and veterinarians to use it for horses with some inflammation in certain body parts. In addition, horses with internal problems like inflammation of the spine and brain after experiencing trauma may also benefit from it. So if you want an alternative drug to treat your ailing horse, you can consult your preferred veterinarian about Dimethyl sulfoxide.

FAQs

Can humans use horse DMSO? ›

Although veterinarians prescribe DMSO for animals as an anti-inflammatory, the FDA has approved DMSO only for very limited use for people with a chronic bladder condition, and has warned that DMSO is often fraudulently marketed as a miracle drug for humans, and that it has significant side effects.

What does DMSO do for a horse? ›

The anti-inflammatory effect of dimethyl sulphoxide is used in the treatment of muscle trauma, tendinitis, laminitis, and arthritis. Dimethyl sulphoxide can potentiate the effects of other drugs.

How many times a day can you use DMSO? ›

Dosing. The following doses have been studied in scientific research: APPLIED TO THE SKIN: For limb pain that usually occurs after an injury (complex regional pain syndrome): Applying a cream containing 50% DMSO to the affected area has been used up to five times daily for 2-12 months.

How long does it take DMSO to work? ›

3 months during which it should be applied on a regular basis, as the full effect may take quite a while to become apparent. During this trial you should apply it five times every day over the most painful/sensitive area, gently rubbing it into the skin. Like all medicines, DMSO can have side effects.

Can you use too much DMSO? ›

Many patients who use DMSO, especially in its more concentrated form, experience skin irritation and burns at the site of application. It may also cause welts and itching, drowsiness or lightheadedness, headache, nausea, diarrhea and, rarely, severe allergic reactions.

Can humans use DMSO for arthritis? ›

DMSO is a clear, odorless liquid that easily penetrates the skin and other organic membranes. It is gaining commercial traction as a potential treatment for arthritis symptoms, mostly due to its ability to reduce pain and inflammation. However, it does not have approval as an arthritis treatment.

How long do you leave DMSO on? ›

For prevention of some side effects of cancer treatment: 77-90% DMSO is typically applied under medical supervision every 3-8 hours for 10-14 days. For shingles (herpes zoster): 5-40% idoxuridine in DMSO is within 48 hours after the appearance of a rash and applied every 4 hours for 4 days.

What does DMSO do to muscles? ›

Research shows that DMSO slows or blocks conduction of impulses along nerve cells, which in effect reduces pain from musculoskeletal injuries, postoperative incisions and other sources. Relief is only temporary—lasting up to a few hours—because as the DMSO dissipates, normal nerve function returns.

Does DMSO help nerve pain? ›

Abstract. Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is readily absorbed through skin, and relieves musculoskeletal pain when applied topically to painful areas. We studied the effects of DMSO on C-type nerve fibers, which mediate pain sensation. DMSO was applied directly to exposed cat sural nerves.

Does DMSO increase blood flow? ›

DMSO has been shown to help resolve tissue inflammation through increased blood flow and promote vascular dilation.

Does DMSO promote healing? ›

DMSO can promote skin wound healing in diabetic mice by activating the Akt/mTOR pathway. Low-concentration DMSO presents an alternative medication for chronic cutaneous wounds, especially for diabetic patients.

Does DMSO help with weight loss? ›

The drug has been used frequently off-label as a weight loss agent, often in combination with phentermine or other weight loss drugs. Approved for diabetes, the drug induces weight loss in overweight diabetics.

Is DMSO good for knee pain? ›

A recent double-blind trial found that a 25% concentration of DMSO in gel form relieved osteoarthritis pain significantly better than a placebo after three weeks. DMSO appears to reduce pain by inhibiting the transmission of pain messages by nerves rather than through a process of healing damaged joints.

How do you use toenail fungus for DMSO? ›

Add 3 parts of antifungal to 1 part of DMSO. Keep the mixture in a glass bottle and shake it before using. Using drops or creams is effective and can clear a toenail infection in about 6 months – the time it takes for the nail to grow out.

What happens if you swallow DMSO? ›

DMSO has shows very few toxic symptoms in humans. The most common are nausea, skin rashes and an unusual garlic- onion-oyster smell on body and breath. Ingestion of large quantities of DMSO may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps, chills and drowsiness.

Is MSM the same as DMSO? ›

MSM is an odorless, white, crystalline, water-soluble powder that is the irreversible oxidation product of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO). MSM is also known as crystalline DMSO and dimethyl sulfone. DMSO has had its own checkered history as an arthritis treatment.

Can you drink alcohol while taking DMSO? ›

DMSO does not cause an accelerated absorption of alcohol but leads to a faster decline of the blood alcohol level. Alcohol actually inhibits the expira- tion of DMS, most probably by inhibiting the formation of this DMSO me- Page 6 462 Annals New York Academy of Sciences tabolite.

Does DMSO reduce scar tissue? ›

On the basis of the results, it can be concluded that intralesional administration of DMSO decreases hypertrophic scar formation easily and safely.

What is DMSO for pain relief? ›

The takeaway. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a chemical solvent that is sometimes used to help reduce inflammation and pain, and may also be beneficial in reducing leakage during chemotherapy treatment. It has been FDA approved to treat only one condition: interstitial cystitis.

Is DMSO safe to take orally? ›

DMSO can be taken orally, topically, intravenously, intramuscularly and intervesically (injected into the bladder).

Is MSM made from DMSO? ›

MSM is obtained from about 15% of ingested dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO). It is used as a source of sulfur for amino acid formation.

What do you use to dilute DMSO? ›

If you would like to use the DMSO but don't want to use it full strength then dilute it 50/50 with distilled water. (Let it cool.) That should be good enough to use on most body parts.

Is DMSO toxic to humans? ›

1) DMSO has shown very few toxic symptoms in humans. The most common are nausea, skin rashes, headache, and an unusual garlic-onion-oyster smell in body and breath. 2) DMSO is a skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritant. It may cause skin irritation and reddening if spilled on clothing and allowed to remain.

How do I remove DMSO? ›

To remove DMSO, a common method is to wash with water and extract with a lower boiling point organic solvent like DCM1. Other methods involve freeze drying (lyophilization) after water dilution or solid phase extraction (SPE).

How long does DMSO smell last? ›

Excreted DMSO metabolites produce an intense, noxious odor, commonly described as smelling like garlic or creamed corn. The serum half-life is approximately 20 hours, although the odor may linger for 24 hours or longer, depending on the number bags of cells, total infused volume, and concentration of DMSO.

Why is DMSO used as control? ›

Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is used as a control because it serves as a medium through which a certain chemical is delivered. This helps the scientist determine if any changes he is observing are due to the DMSO or if they are due to the chemical he or she is testing.

Do athletes use DMSO? ›

For most of the last 30 years, there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that athletes have frequently used dimethyl sulfoxide, otherwise known as DMSO, to ease their assorted aches and pains, even if, as Joe Theismann said, "the stuff smelled like death and gave you unbelievable garlic breath."

Is Vicks Vapor Rub good for neuropathy? ›

Vicks Vapor Rub® – Massaging one's feet with Vicks, particularly at night, soothes neuropathic pain and distress in one's feet and legs. It is also excellent for softening your toe nails and diminishing common toe nail problems.

Do damaged nerves ever heal? ›

Nerves recover slowly, and maximal recovery may take many months or several years. You'll need regular checkups to make sure your recovery stays on track. If your injury is caused by a medical condition, your doctor will treat the underlying condition.

Is Magnesium good for nerve pain? ›

Magnesium decreases nerve pain.

Clinical experience, as well as research in nerve pain conditions such as pancreatic cancer, has shown that magnesium can be an effective treatment for pain.

Does DMSO affect the heart? ›

Immediately after infusion, DMSO caused increases in cardiac index, heart rate, pulmonary capillary wedge pressures (WP), and pulmonary arterial (systolic, mean, and diastolic) pressures which were significantly greater than changes induced by saline.

Does DMSO cause hair loss? ›

DMSO concentrations of 0.1% and 0.25% caused little or no damage. However, concentrations between 0.5 and 6% resulted in stereocilia damage, hair cell swelling and a dose-dependent loss of hair cells. Hair cell damage began in the basal turn of the cochlea and spread towards the apex with increasing concentration.

Does DMSO help heart? ›

The effects of DMSO make it potentially useful in the treatment of medical disorders involving head and spinal cord injury, stroke, memory dysfunction, and ischemic heart disease.

Does DMSO help Alzheimer's? ›

As Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains are characterized by deposits of β-amyloid peptides, it has been suggested that DMSO could be used as a treatment for this devastating disease. AD brains are also characterized by aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau protein, but the effect of DMSO on tau phosphorylation is unknown.

Can DMSO be put on an open wound? ›

There were no differences in the number or types of bacteria in wounds between treatment groups. These results indicate that topical DMSO is neither beneficial nor harmful in the healing of superficial wounds.

Does DMSO cross the blood brain barrier? ›

DMSO reversibly crosses biological membranes without damaging them, including the blood-brain barrier. This property has led to its use as a vehicle for drug therapy.

Does DMSO have a smell? ›

DMSO by itself is actually odorless, what makes Dimethyl Sulfoxide smell and taste like onions or garlic is DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide). Industrial grades of DMSO will contain DMS and therefore give off an offensive odor.

Can DMSO be contaminated? ›

Of course, DMSO can get contaminated. ANY TC (Tissue culture) work have to be done using aseptic technique and sterilized supplies. DMSO being toxic and its sterility is a separate issue.

Does DMSO cure toenail fungus? ›

It appears to eradicate fungal organisms from within the nail itself, rendering it an effective treatment for this case of refractory onychomycosis. The topical PVP-I/DMSO system we have developed has been very effective in alleviating the signs and symptoms of severe onychomycosis in this refractory case.

Does DMSO penetrate toenails? ›

Although DMSO is an effective agent for transdermal drug delivery of small molecules, penetration into the nail has not previously been reported.

Can DMSO grow fungus? ›

According to Randhawa (2006) , high concentrations of DMSO, usually used as a drug diluent in antifungal in vitro tests, can inhibit fungal growth.

Does DMSO cause liver damage? ›

Although DMSO did not cause liver injury at these doses (data not shown), it did have an effect on hepatic NKT cells, as evidenced by increased numbers of NKT cells in the livers of DMSO-treated mice (Fig. 3A).

Is DMSO a hazardous chemical? ›

May cause damage to the following organs: blood, kidneys, liver, mucous membranes, skin, eyes. Other Toxic Effects on Humans: Slightly hazardous in case of inhalation (lung irritant). Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant, permeator), of ingestion, .

Can you use horse liniment on people? ›

It is not recommended to use horse liniment on people. Horse liniment is designed for use on horses and is not tested on people or approved by the FDA for human use. Some people have reported allergic reactions to liniment. Some liniments contain DMSO, a substance that is absorbed through the skin into bloodstream.

Can you take DMSO internally? ›

DMSO can be taken orally, topically, intravenously, intramuscularly and intervesically (injected into the bladder).

Is absorbine horse liniment safe for humans? ›

Best Answer: Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel is not safe to use on humans. It's recommended to only use as directed and for external use only. Keep the gel out of reach of children and avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.

What does DMSO do to muscles? ›

DMSO is used topically to decrease pain and speed the healing of wounds, burns, and muscle and skeletal injuries. DMSO is also used topically to treat painful conditions such as headache, inflammation, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and severe facial pain called tic douloureux.

What happens if humans use horse liniment? ›

Some horse liniments, for instance, can blister human skin, users warn. Ketamine, a veterinary anesthetic only recently classified as a federally controlled substance, has caused serious illness, even death, among people illegally using it as a hallucinogen.

Can I use horse liniment on my knees? ›

Menthol can also help relieve swelling in a particular area. How to Apply a Topical Horse Liniment: Option 1: For daily use after a hard workout, you can simply rub a horse liniment on your horse's legs from the knee down.

Can you use horse liniment gel on humans? ›

Many ranchers and farmers swear topical horse liniments are superior to human balms for the relief of common aches and pains.

Does DMSO damage the liver? ›

Although DMSO did not cause liver injury at these doses (data not shown), it did have an effect on hepatic NKT cells, as evidenced by increased numbers of NKT cells in the livers of DMSO-treated mice (Fig.

Is DMSO good for knee pain? ›

A recent double-blind trial found that a 25% concentration of DMSO in gel form relieved osteoarthritis pain significantly better than a placebo after three weeks. DMSO appears to reduce pain by inhibiting the transmission of pain messages by nerves rather than through a process of healing damaged joints.

Does DMSO help Alzheimer's? ›

As Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains are characterized by deposits of β-amyloid peptides, it has been suggested that DMSO could be used as a treatment for this devastating disease. AD brains are also characterized by aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau protein, but the effect of DMSO on tau phosphorylation is unknown.

Does absorbine contain DMSO? ›

This product does not contain any DMSO.

How do you make liniment for arthritis? ›

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup olive oil.
  2. 3 tablespoons cayenne powder.
  3. 1 cup coconut oil.
  4. 1 coffee filter or cheesecloth.
  5. 1 heat-proof glass jar or bowl.
  6. 1 glass jar with a tightly fitting lid for storage.

Can humans use Vetrolin? ›

This shampoo is intended for horses, ponies and dogs and is not intended for human use.

Does DMSO work on nerve pain? ›

Abstract. Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is readily absorbed through skin, and relieves musculoskeletal pain when applied topically to painful areas.

Does DMSO promote healing? ›

DMSO can promote skin wound healing in diabetic mice by activating the Akt/mTOR pathway. Low-concentration DMSO presents an alternative medication for chronic cutaneous wounds, especially for diabetic patients.

Does DMSO increase blood flow? ›

DMSO has been shown to help resolve tissue inflammation through increased blood flow and promote vascular dilation.

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