LSU researchers have completed a pilot study to evaluate the safety of a new treatment for horses with colitis, an inflammation of the large bowel that can kill the animals.

LSU evaluated crofelemer, which is isolated and purified from the lechleri tree, for San Francisco-based Jaguar Animal Health Inc. Jaguar is a publicly traded firm that develops and commercializes gastrointestinal products for companion and production animals, and horses.

The study involved dosing three healthy horses with crofelemer paste. Over three days the doses were upped to roughly eight times the proposed dosage. The study found that the paste was safe and that “dose-limiting toxicities” were not found at any of the dosage levels.

Jaguar President and Chief Executive Officer Lisa Conte said the pilot study’s results allow the company to continue its crofelemer development program.

“Part of that development program concerns the use of crofelemer for the treatment of diarrhea associated with acute colitis,” Conte said.

Colitis can affect adult horses as well as foals. Acute colitis can cause sudden, massive fluid loss and severe electrolyte imbalances that can result in death.