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.


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:

One Comment

Leave a Reply