Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I have a mortal fear of hypodermic needles - it's a deep rooted fear that's born out of my anxiety to be vulnerable. I work myself up into believing the needle will break or they're injecting me with the wrong substance, or something will go wrong. I have a complete inability to trust others with my safety (except in very rare circumstances) and getting needles freaks me out SO badly, just the sight of needles gives me the heebie jeebies (ironically though, I have pierced ears and a pierced lip, it's not the pain that bothers me, it's the sight of an actual hypodermic needle).
Anyway, I have found that giving vaccinations has HELPED me. It wasn't quite the same, my anxiety is at half mast if I'm holding the needle because my own safety isn't in jeopardy but the sight of them still makes me nervous. After years of vaccinating and medicating my own horses, I'm totally unphased by them now. I cringe a bit if I see them on TV, and I bite my nails and jiggle my leg rapidly when I need bloodwork done but I actually donated blood last year - a huge milestone for me. Four years ago I needed bloodwork done and actually started sobbing in the waiting room because I was so scared and started hyperventilating so bad the nurse was desperately trying to calm me down. I took three teachers to hold me down in grade 6 to give me my vaccinations.
So yeah, I definitely think it gets better. I guess it depends on the phobia, but I KNOW the needles don't hurt me, so how can they hurt your horse? A needle may prick, but not many people can see they really HURT. I can give my Arabian mare her vaccinations with no halter - I massage the area so she knows what's coming, jab the needle in and she may flinch softly but she never tries to step away from me or escape. She knows if she stands quietly the worst is already over and nothing more is going to happen.
Wild horses tend to react more violently to needles only because they're like me - hard wired to protect themselves. To them, a needle is a sting and it could mean death to a horse if they're being attacked by wasps or any other number of stinging insects. It doesn't actually hurt, but ANYTHING touching them, even a hair will ellicit a strong response of retaliation. They're not being hurt, only trying to protect themselves. Most domestic horses won't react as violently, but they're still hard wired to protect which is why some will react more strongly then others.
I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.