oral meds-- massive problem - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-31-2010, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Question oral meds-- massive problem

My horse has a large problem with taking oral meds. my theory is that he has had some nasty stuff shot down his throught, and this is just an after math. When you go to give him anything, he raises his head as high as it can ( which is high, he's a very tall horse) and if you insist on giving him the meds, he throughs his head around and does everything he can to get you away form his mouth. He doesn't do this to be mean. i understand that this is just him thinking that whatever we are going to give him is going to taste absolutly terrible - even if in reality it tastes fine.
if you want to check his teeth, he'll act like your finger is oral meds and make a fuss. Although the other day i got my finger in his mouth on both sides...but that was just along his cheek to feel the outsides of his teeth

now the thing is, i don't know how i go about fixing this problem. i've had the idea of getting some runny apple sauce and give that to him -- as a way to show him that not everything given like that is terrible. but really i have no clue if this will work lol

anybody else have any ideas that might help?

Last edited by Lonannuniel; 03-31-2010 at 11:38 PM. Reason: spelling error
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-01-2010, 02:04 PM
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Is it meds that you can put in his feed??? you can try putting the apple sauce in his feed and then the meds and maybe that will help...
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-01-2010, 02:08 PM
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using apple sauce may help. i would also desensitize him to you touching & holding things up to his mouth. take a tube of bute or dewormer and hold it up to his mouth. dont try to put it in his mouth, just hold it against it until he puts his head down and relaxes, then take it away. so he will realize that nothing bad is going to happen

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post #4 of 8 Old 04-01-2010, 02:16 PM
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I'm assuming he does this for all meds? If so, how do you go about worming him?
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-02-2010, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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He does this for all meds, but he gets worse for wormer especially
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-02-2010, 01:16 PM
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Another vote for putting stuff in his food.

I highly doubt he has some traumatic oral experience. I would guess he has just learned that raising his head works for him to avoid things he does not like.

Have you tried daily squirting of something he likes in his mouth using an old paste dewormer syringe? Mix up some apple sauce and molasses and do it every day.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-02-2010, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind View Post

I highly doubt he has some traumatic oral experience. I would guess he has just learned that raising his head works for him to avoid things he does not like.
Along these lines - all it takes is one time to jam the syringe in the roof of the mouth, gums or cheek to have the horse associate that something in the mouth hurts.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-02-2010, 02:22 PM
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My horses had the same issue as yours--they came to dread all oral medication, especially wormers. Rearing, biting, running away, and all other types of fear were abundant. Many people advised to "sneak" the wormer into their mouths, but this made them act up even more. I tried the wormers that you can add into their feed, but they didn't always like the taste of those. Even if they did, I knew sometime down the road they would have to take something orally, so I decided to do something about it. I am not a trainer, but some of the things I did to help my horses overcome their fear might help you with your horse.

First I touched all over my horses faces until it wasn't a big deal. Just a few minutes grooming the face, especially around the muzzle area, goes a long way in desensitizing them.

I also got them used to having my hand rest on the corners of their lips, in the area where you would stick the worming tube in. Whenever they kept their head still, I rewarded them and removed my hand and gave them a scratch in their favorite itchy spots. If they tossed their heads in the air, I tried to keep my hand there until they calmed down. After awhile, they learned that they got what they wanted (a favorite scratch) by holding still.

Next, I practiced playing with their lips. Pulling them a bit, sticking my finger in, etc. Whenever they started acting scared, I backed off a bit and rubbed their muzzles instead. I kept messing with their lips, occasionally slipping a finger in, until they became used to it. For one of my horses, this took around a week. For the other, it was only a few minutes...it all depends on the horse. By keeping the sessions upbeat and energetic, they had fun learning this "game."

Next I took out the deworming tube. I've found that your attitude towards the womer reflects to your horse--if you act nervous, tensing up, forgetting to breathe, you horse will anticipate what is to come. Once I let them have a good sniff at the tube, I started from the beginning of the training session--this time using the deworming tube instead of my hand. Moving it all over their face and head (you can rub it on their shoulder if they are too nervous to have it near their face at first), their lips, then in their mouth. If they acted scared, I went back to this procedure with just my hands, but kept the deworming tube in sight.

Once the tube was in their mouth, I didn't squirt it. I kept playing around with the tube on their face and in their mouth until they relaxed. Then I administered the dewormer, and continued playing with the tube on their face and in their mouth. I never put the tube away right after I worm...I like to keep playing with them, to leave the session on a happy note.

All in all, it took about 45 minutes to worm my "problem wormer." It probably seems like a long time, but if I continue playing these worming games with him, the next day the womer comes out, it will be easier. The next time will be easier still. Putting a little work in can help you both out in the long run.
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