How to give your horse oral medications

Dosing your horse with a syringe is an effective way to administer oral meds.
Dosing your horse with a syringe is an effective way to administer oral meds.

Giving a horse medications is not always as easy as mixing a powder into its feed. Sometimes you need to administer them orally using a syringe.

Of course, squirting a paste into a resisting 1200 pound animal can be a source of great amusement for those watching and frustration for those administering. Here are some tips that can help you succeed.

Instructions:

Practice before you need to make it count. When you give meds “for real” you can’t have them spit half the dose on the ground. It’s a good idea to do a trial run or two using a pleasant tasting substance (like apple sauce) in the syringe.

  • If you are right handed, stand on the right side of the horse, facing in the same direction as the horse and holding the syringe in your right hand.
  • Once the syringe is loaded, relax your horse by stroking his head and massaging his neck
  • Once your horse is calm and relaxed, put your finger in the corner of his mouth and massage gently.
  • Next, place the tip of the syringe in the corner of your horse’s mouth.
  • Raise your horse’s head slightly
  • Move the syringe tip around to stimulate movement of the tongue.
  • And inject the apple sauce or medication.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can make a palatable paste out of many types of pills or powders by mixing them with either applesauce, molasses, or Kool-Aid
  • Cross tie your horse or have someone hold him using a lead rope. Some vets suggest giving oral meds in the horse’s stall where they are more confined.
  • Make sure that if your horse spits some of the medication out, that you adjust the dosage and that you clean it up. Some medications, such as Ivermectin de-wormer, can be toxic to certain breeds of dogs.

Video demonstration:

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