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How to sedate?

This is a discussion on How to sedate? within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Sedating a 6 month horse
  • What drugs do you use to sedate a horse for body clipping

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    08-26-2013, 07:40 AM
  #11
Super Moderator
I spent months to get my (generally quite laid back) qh to let me clip her ears (I could clip everything else pretty much from day one I tried). Didn't work (so I have to use scissors, and even then she really dislikes that).

You must use a vet to sedate (at least in all areas I'm aware of). BO or whoever else can NOT sedate a horse. There is another drug some people use to sedate (sorry, don't remember the name), but unfortunately it may cause completely different reaction depending on horse, so I wouldn't recommend it.

And if I would be you I'd approach BO or BM and ask WHY you have to clip your horse for the winter. I've never heard clipping being a requirement for any stable around here.
     
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    08-26-2013, 07:56 AM
  #12
Foal
I saw a horse having a seizure once after it was sedated. The human beings surrounding a horse having a seizure are in a great deal of danger not to mention the poor horse itself.

I wouldn't touch sedating a horse myself with a ten foot pole.

"First Do No Harm" is the physicians credo and you might want to consider that as your horse owner's credo. You don't want to end up having a catastrophic outcome trying to clip a horse of all things.

Either get a vet to do it, a professional clipper, or tell your barn mates your horse is a rock star and doesn't cut his hair like everybody else's. Before long it will be summer again, everybody will be healthy and happy and that will be that
     
    08-26-2013, 08:43 AM
  #13
Foal
The groom who clips at my stable has vet tech experience and has done a lot of sedation. Our vet observed her before she started supplying the drugs and if she trusts her, I trust her. The vet works primarily with show horses who all get clipped in the fall and if she came to sedate all the horses that needed it I don't think she would do much else in October/November :)

However, if it was the very first time my horse was being tranquilized I *would* have the actual vet there. You want to be sure your horse can deal with sedation in general. Our horses get their teeth one month before clipping so that can be a good time to observe their reaction. Either way, I definitely would not sedate myself - only use someone who is trained and has extensive experience.

There is no way we could keep working the way we do in the winter without clipping and I definitely think it's the safest way to go if you're going to be in hard work.
     
    08-26-2013, 08:53 AM
  #14
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by plomme    
The groom who clips at my stable has vet tech experience and has done a lot of sedation. Our vet observed her before she started supplying the drugs and if she trusts her, I trust her.
plomme, I don't know about Canada, but in Maryland (and I believe VA and PA as well) ONLY someone with the LICENSE is allowed to sedate the horse (I'm talking about real sedation). IF the vet is letting someone else to do it vet is also breaking the law. It's not about trusting or not trusting really.
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    08-26-2013, 09:49 AM
  #15
Yearling
OP, there are generally two types of sedative used on horses - one is an owner administered paste which you squeeze into the horses mouth.

Do NOT let any of your barn mates or trainer talk you into using one of these for clipping - as described by another poster when the fear of the clipper hits the horse that is feeling 'a bit dopey' fear can often increase because he feels more vulnerable. The adrenaline will override the sedative.

The other is the vet administered injection. This is an expensive option and must be administered by the vet who will then remain on site to check how the horse responds.

If you haven't clipped before (apologies, this isn't clear from your post?) then even a vet-doped horse will be hard for you to do a good job on because he still won't be standing statue-like and as you get towards the head, or wherever the sensitive areas are, he will be objecting despite the drugs.

Believe me, my old mare was a cow bag to clip and the first time I did it, under sedation, she looked absolutely awful...........

BUT she did get better through firm (not rough just steady) handling and lots of desensitisation. For her I couldn't just do the desensitising I also had to stop her throwing her weight about and quit.

Taking all the hair except the legs off is a Hunter Clip by the way. Leaving the face on is possible (sometimes necessary) but also looks a bit silly (again, I speak from experience )
     
    08-26-2013, 10:03 AM
  #16
Banned
The BO might want the horses clipped due to skin disease outbreaks, all too common in the winter with stalled wooly horses in a heated barn not drying out properly. Humidity + thick damp hair = skin crawly heaven.
     
    08-26-2013, 11:59 AM
  #17
Yearling
I like Chevaux's idea of using a battery operated toy to get a horse used to the sound. Might save a pair of spendy clippers.
I had a mare that went into a panic the first time I went to clip her bridle path. So I took the battery powered clippers and the mare out into the pasture and we went for a walk. I let her follow the clippers. We'd stop, I'd approach and back off if she got buggie-eyed. It wasn't long before I could rub her neck and within a few minutes we had the bridle path done...and we never had another problem. It worked for us.
     
    08-26-2013, 12:27 PM
  #18
Showing
One can put a twitch on the horse's upper lip. It goes numb and floods his brain with endorphins. He'll stand still. Or, you could take the time to work with the horse by just running the clippers on the shoulders first, without clipping. Run the clippers along the back and sides then in small increments move along the neck then go back to the shoulder. As long as the horse stands still, periodically pop a treat in it's mouth. This can provide a huge incentive to stand still. Don't attempt the head or upper neck the first day but repeat as before for at least 3 days, offering the rewards.
     
    08-26-2013, 12:47 PM
  #19
Super Moderator
Twitching works fine with some horses but I've seen plenty of people get injured by horses that don't accept it and horses that learn to get out of being twitched by rearing that its something only experienced people should do
I've used ACE (ACP as we call it in the UK) on horses that were very nervous for the first few clipping times with no problems at all, you have to give it before you start so they are well relaxed ahead of time. You should always do this under your vets supervision the first time in case there is a bad reaction
I would suggest that you get some small rechargeable battery clippers - they are really quiet and easy to handle. Just 'stroke the horse with them (not turned on' so they get used to the feel - hardly any different to a plastic curry comb and then stand away and allow him to get used to the noise, once he accepts that you can move closer a bit at a time until he's happy with you to run them on his neck or shoulder. I use treats as a reward for things like this but if you don't like them then a 'good boy' should be enough - but only after he's behaved
I would have someone strong and confident hold him in a reasonably confined space
I can understand why the BO wants the horses clipped, a horse with a thick coat is going to sweat up if it gets worked to any level and that means someone has to sponge it over, put a cooler on it, brush the dried sweat off, remove cooler probably long after the owner has gone home
     
    08-26-2013, 03:48 PM
  #20
Foal
Thanks everyone for the info! I think i'll ask the barn owner if he can "stretch" the rule just for a year. If not I will get a vet to sedate her. Thanks for all the info it was greatly appreciated.
     

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