Help! Can't give my horse shots - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-23-2010, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Help! Can't give my horse shots

Hi, I'm new here and desperate for help. I have a 9 year old ex-racehorse who was gelded last year. He is in general a very sweet horse. But he seems to have some issues. Last year I walked up to him and gave him his 5 in 1 shot no problem. That was after he was gelded at the clinic. This year we have the vet out to do coggins and rabies. The drawing of the blood went fine but when it was time for the shot he freaked out, rearing up and getting away and being really freaked out. He didn't try to hurt anyone just trying to get away. More scared than vicious. Gave him sedative by mouth but couldn't get him to calm down. So now I'm trying to desensitize him, touching and poking him all over and eventually the neck trying to show him that nothing bad will happen. It doesn't work, he just gets more tense the longer I do it getting to a point where I can't even get near his neck. And now he snaps at me. But when he thinks I don't really want anything from him I can still touch him all over, brush him and stuff even on his neck.. I don't know what to try next. Not crazy over vets idea to dart him every time he needs a shot. I would be greatful for any advice/idea.

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post #2 of 4 Old 04-23-2010, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Sounds like you hit a nerve the last time you gave him a shot, which is what made him freak out. Hitting a nerve hurts like the dickens.

Instead of trying to give him IM injections in his neck, why not try the brisket instead? My Arab gelding isn't good about getting shots in his neck, so my vet always does them in his brisket (front chest area).

He doesn't really seem to feel those, and he since he can't see what the vet has in her hand, he doesn't get tensed up waiting for the needle.
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-23-2010, 11:02 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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You can try and work with him. I know you said you have tried doing that, but continue it. If you stop because he gets upset, he wins and will continue this. While brushing him try and grab some skin near the neck as if you were going to give him a shot. Desensitizing him to the feel of the grab/pinch. Make sure if you give the shot, you get the area in the triangle of the neck. If you give two shots, yah either the chest or rump. But you have to becareful with either of those areas as they are prone to infection. Anyway, like I said, while brushing him brush his neck and you can act like its no big deal, but grab a piece of skin like it was an accident and continue to brush him. Gradually grab/pinch a little harder each time he accepts the ooops grab. Dont do it sneakingly but aggressively while brushing him like you didnt mean to but no big deal. This is harder to explain on here than it is in my head. Just dont quit. good luck!
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-23-2010, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USDF Region 1, USEA Area 2, USEF Zone 3 - Maryland
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I'm assuming you gave him ACE in his mouth? If you give it to them while they are keyed up, it pretty much has no effect. And might make them freak out a little more, since they may not understand what it is they're scared of while it's in their system.

You should give it to him while he's relaxed and then let him be quiet in a stall for about 30 mintues before introducing the stimuli, to make sure he's really "out".

But, other than that - I agree with everything. Keep after him until he cooperates. Don't stop when he gets tense, he'll just keep getting tense and acting up because it gets the result he wants - to be left alone.
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