How to sedate? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-24-2013, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Question How to sedate?

Well, my horse is terrified of clippers. Now I know what everyone is going to say "Desensitize her" "No need to sedate" etc... I am working every day with her. At my barn you have to clip your horse for the winter. Don't ask me why because i don't know. I also want her clipped since we train a lot. But I know she isn't going to be ready or "fully desensitized" to be clipped without being sedated. I don't really know how to sedate since she is the first horse I've owned with this fear. So where do you get it? From the vet or tack store? Should I get a syringe or the needle? And is there doses or how strong so that she doesn't freak out? I'm clipping everything but her face and legs (i have no clue what the correct term for it is) so it has to last long enough and be strong enough so that she kind of under the whole time. Anyways any info would be nice.
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-24-2013, 01:21 PM
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A vet normally has to provide sedation. I know there are people out there who probably get drugs from their vet and give it themselves, but I don't think that is actually how it is supposed to work as the drugs are controlled substances and you sort of have to know what you are doing.

Anyway, it's not something I think you can buy over-the-counter, at least not in my area.

I'm not sure why a person would be required to clip their horse. If you want to clip her, that's one thing. But it sounds really weird that you would be required to clip her.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-24-2013, 03:32 PM
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Hi OP. I've got a couple of comments: 1) If she is that freaked out by the clippers, you are not going to be able to use the milder owner administered drug but should have the vet's sedation. They may appear sedated with the mild stuff but that goes right out the window when their fear object approaches them and the adrenalin starts pumping. 2) I had to desensitize one of my guys one time in fairly short order for clipping (he had cushings and desperately needed a summer cut because of heat). I used a kid's battery operated toy (it was a little plastic chain saw with chain that actually moved and was just a tad noisier than electric clippers), started it up and using the advance and retreat method had him accepting it in three days. I think my success came quickly with him as I didn't tie him so he knew he could leave it got too much, I started at such a distance from him that he showed no interest at all (going back and forth in a parallel fashion rather than straight at him), moved in towards him just enough to catch his attention then back to repeating the back and forth movement till he settled and repeating those steps until I was right up beside him. The first few times I touched him with the toy, I gave a treat right away and after that it was business as usual. This might work with your girl.

P.S. I second TrailHorseRider's concern on the seemingly arbitrary clipping requirement. I think you should get a good understanding of the necessity for clipping and you'll get that by asking questions of your trainer or barn manager. When you do find out, I wouldn't mind if you let us know the rationale.

Last edited by Chevaux; 08-24-2013 at 03:36 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-24-2013, 04:15 PM
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You would need sedation that you can get from a vet. Your barn owner or manager will likely have some.
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 09:43 PM
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Do not let anyone other than a licensed vet sedate your horse!

Depending on the sedative there can be different complications and side effects especially if your horse has a previously unknown medical condition.

General Anesthesia Risks

Sedatives and Sedation in Horses | Vet Help Direct Blog

Here is a research paper on it too.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 09:54 PM
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I wouldn't let anyone but a trained vet sedate my horse. (You wouldn't want anyone but an anesthesiologist sedate you, right?)

I've never heard of a barn "requiring" you to clip your horse. That seems odd.

How much longer do you have before you have to clip? At the most, it really shouldn't take more than a couple weeks to get your horse used to a clippers. Are you sure your timing is correct for the desensitizing training?

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post #7 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 10:56 PM
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I grew up in a barn where clipping was "required" in the winter. The truth is, it isn't required. It is just considered the norm and your barn mates simply expect that all the horses will be clipped in the winter. The typical purpose for clipping a horse is to keep them from getting overheated. I would only clip your horse if it is in full training under saddle in a heated indoor arena in the winter. Otherwise the horse will get cold. You will need to blanket the horse to compensate for the inability to keep itself warm without it's fur. I would not sedate the horse yourself unless you know what you are doing. Have either a vet sedate the horse, a very very very very (emphasis on very) experienced barn mate sedate it, or (as I recommend) take the time to desensitize the horse. It is only August. You have plenty of time to desensitize your horse before winter comes. I can tell that you have very little experience with tranquilizers, so DO NOT try to sedate the horse yourself. It can have very bad consequences.

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post #8 of 21 Old 08-26-2013, 01:04 AM
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Get the vet to do it!

I worked for some people who decided to "sedate" a weanling for farrier work. The bad thing about Ace is that it can cause the opposite reaction. The filly went absolutely crazy. They gave her a second shot and she went even more nuts- slammed her leg into the fence and they had to have the vet up.

I would never have anyone other than a vet sedate my horse. Never never never!

Take you time and do it right- no sedation.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-26-2013, 01:14 AM
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Where are you located?

Can you hire a professional clipper to come in and do it?

Have you tried neck, lip or gum twitching her?

I used to clip horses for a living......I got every single one if them clipped, even the surliest nut job there was, 98% of the time I was on my own and didn't twitch them. You don't 'desensitize' to the clippers, you 'train' the horse to stand for the clippers, even if they get butt hurt about it they need to stand up.

Sedation should be done by a vet, especially the level you will need.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-26-2013, 01:48 AM
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MG I might need you for my kid. He is so darn ticklish and opinionated! Was just going to sedate this year... Oh well we will see what winter brings!

OP - Always have a DVM sedate your horse. There is too much that can go wrong even with a trained hand guiding that needle in. Sedation is dangerous and needs to be treated with a healthy respect.
There is an under the tongue formula that can be tricky, but can work as well as IV... It is also obtained from your vet.

Good luck
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