I have a 19-yearold Arab gelding - very sensitive - who's dislike to the vet has grown over the years to the point that when the man walks into the barn, the horse, which I have tied up shudders and snorts. The last time we gave him his annual shots, both the vet and I almost got seriously injured. This time the vet left me with the syringes as we thought the horse might do better without him there. I will do IM injections in the rear. We also have a new POA pony, who the vet vaccinated for the first time this year, and her violent kick as a reaction to the needle stick practically took the stall apart. I don't ever remember having these problems with horses in the past. What am I/we doing wrong? How can I give this gelding his shots? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Have you tried doing the IM shots in the neck instead? I've always had better reactions that way. Or maybe you could try a different vet. There must be a reason why your horses don't like your current vet.
Be careful giving injections in butt. They can kick pretty good at you. I did it myself last year into the butt (as I never gave it before) and actually did it through the fence. Neck is certainly a better spot. Ask someone to feed him - it may keep his mind busy on something else.
Can you try different vet? I tried 2 for my 2nd horse and 1st one wasn't able to do anything with her (she came to me wild and afraid of people). However 2nd vet was just great (he's very popular around here, btw).
We give all of our own shots every year. (20+ horses) Basically some are more sensitive than others. We have learned a few tricks over the years though. One method is to tap, tap, tap the neck (or butt) with your knuckle, and then pop them with the shot. It tends to desensitize them to the inital poke. Some horses, you have to tap, tap, tap, 8-10 times (the more sensitive ones) and others less. Use your judgement. When the horse is standing quietly to your knuckle tapping, go ahead and give them the shot. Also, we have a bucket (remember we do 20+) of alfalfa cubes to give them when it's all over. That way, they have something good to remember after it's all over.
A friend of mine does the tapping trick, but instead of the syringe and needle, she just pops them with the needle alone. That way if they flinch, the needle stays where it is. After the horse "calms down" you can screw the syringe on and push the plunger and give the shot. I've never done it that way myself, seems a bit tricky to screw the syringe on, but it may work for you.
We use the alfalfa treat trick also with worming. They tend to not spit the wormer out if they are busy chewing on an alfalfa cube and they think of it as getting a treat. Just squirt into mouth and immediately pop a cube in after. (using 2 people helps the process) Good luck!!