The effect of inflammation on the disposition of phenylbutazone (PBZ) was investigated in Thoroughbred horses. An initial study (n= 5) in which PBZ (8.8 mg/kg) was injected intravenously twice, 5 weeks apart, suggested that the administration of PBZ would not affect the plasma kinetics of a subsequent dose. Two other groups of horses were given PBZ at either 8.8 mg/kg (n= 5) or 4.4 mg/kg (n= 4). Soft tissue inflammation was then induced by the injection of Freud's adjuvant and the administration of PBZ was repeated at a dose level equivalent to, but five weeks later than, the initial dose. Inflammation did not appear to affect the plasma kinetics or the urinary excretion of PBZ and its metabolites, oxyphenbutazone (OPBZ) or hydroxyphenylbutazone (OHPBZ) when PBZ was administered at 8.8 mg/kg. However, small but significant increases (P<0.05) in total body clearance (CLB; 29.2 ± 3.9 vs. 43.8 ± 8.1 mL/ h-kg) and the volume of distribution, calculated by area (Vd(area); 0.18 ± 0.05 vs. 0.25 ± 0.03 L/kg) or at steady-state (Vd(SS); 0.17±0.04 vs. 0.25 ± 0.03 L/ kg), were obtained in horses after adjuvant injection, compared to controls, when PBZ was administered at 4.4 mg/kg which corresponded to relatively higher tissues concentrations and lower plasma concentrations (calculated) at the time of maximum peripheral PBZ concentration. Soft tissue inflammation also induced a significantly (P<0.05) higher amount of OPBZ in the urine 18 h after PBZ administration but the total urinary excretion of analytes over 48 h was unchanged. These results have possible implications regarding the administration of PBZ to the horse close to race-day.