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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
..do you ever get over giving them the shots? (Is there a way to trick your mind into settling by itself? ..or just by experience - done once, done a million times?)

My friend and I vaccinated 4-way plus WNV today.. Her horse was a real champ about it. (Then again, NOTHING phases him!) Okay, successful, we each gave him one. (She was REAL nervous about the first one, so I did the second). But then when it came to my filly, our BM showed us the punch-punch-needle.. Okay, punch, punch, done. I stopped with the syringe right above her coat, and was shaking so bad.


Ends up, the BM did the filly's because I couldn't bring myself to do it. (She was really good about it too, considering it's probably her first set. Alot of details about her were stretched.) Our vet is about half an hour away.. so there's no real way of him administering them unless we were to pack up the duo and drive.

So, do you ever get over it? (Assuming you have a history of needle-phobia or such..)
 

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I personally don't like seeing my own blood, but other blood is okay in small doses. However, I don't have a problem stabbing my TB in his butt to give him vaccinations. I find its really best to just take a deep breath and do it! The punch-punch method just allows you to psych yourself out of doing it.

What exactly about the process were you nervous about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The stabbing part. We were advised by the Veterinary Assistant to give them in "the thick muscle, about middle of the neck."

I think the thing that freaked me out was the whole "inflicting pain" thing. People say it doesn't hurt them.. but she definately noticed something pinch.


EDIT: Maybe next time I'll try the shots into her rear quadrants.. Minus the BM and filly staring at me with white eyes. Thanks JustSamBam08 :)
 

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Yeah. the neck muscles are easier to push needles in, since they usually don't get a lot of work (unlike the butt) but I find that his back end just gives me less to worry about.
 

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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 definately 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 *****, 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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the response MM!

*shudders* Talking about these things are giving me chills. (laughs) -- That is true about the safety/flight response. My anxiety probably didn't help her.. but she did get carrots as a reward for behaving well; and surprised me by being stubborn in returning to the paddock.
Yesterday I read a thread about Vaccine Recalls, and a horse death.. so that was probably lurking somewhere in my mind..

Well.. Next time, on the same Bat Station, same Bat Channel, things should be way smoother! :D
 

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Some people are fine with it, and then there are the select few who can do it but absolutely hate it. I have no problem giving shots to a horse. My sister, on the other hand, can do it, but she would much rather that I did. When Jack had osteomyelitis in his tailbone, she had to flush the wound with a catheter and it made her sick. This is the same woman who has zero problems working cattle.

Go figure. It might be easier to practice on horses you are not emotionally attached to. Just a thought.
 

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I haven't ever had a huge problem with it--maybe it is because I had to help with it so many times working for a veterinarian. I was pretty nervous my first time administering by myself--defiantly vaccinate a calm horse the first few times. That helped me gain more confidence with the needle. :)
 

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I have a terrible phobia of needles, at least as far as me getting them. Funnily enough, I have no worries giving them to my horses. The first few to times I was nervous as all get out, but I think that came more from being worried I would get it wrong
 

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The punch-punch method just allows you to psych yourself out of doing it.
Some horse are very sensitive on their back ends (like to flies, etc) and the punch-punch method is a good desensitizing method for those types.

justsambam08 said:
Yeah. the neck muscles are easier to push needles in, since they usually don't get a lot of work (unlike the butt) but I find that his back end just gives me less to worry about.
Yup, for IM shots, it's tough to go wrong in the butt. Most vets go for the neck to just avoid getting kicked.
 

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What I find when showing people how to give IM shots, is that horse owners have a hard time poking their own horse. However, when I have them try on a friends horse, it seems to be easier for them. So it definitely has an emotional component to it. After giving a few people generally do just fine.

Now, an interesting fact. When at a pediatrician visit with my 2 year old daughter for her vaccines, I asked the nurse what Gage needles they use. Her response was a 23g, only 1 Gage thinner than the 22g I use on horses. So after that I figure if my 2 year old daughter can handle a vaccination needle, then an 1100 pound horse should be able to.

In horses, like people, it's mainly the skin sensitivity that they object to. Some horses, a quick poke works, others a slower poke works. I generally do not use the pat, pat, poke method because you essentially tell your horse that you're about to poke them with a needle.
 

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I have to agree with cmvet here about not using the pat, pat, poke thing too.

In the last 4 months I have given approximately 40 injections (friends horse on antibiotics, tetanus shots, my horses on antibiotics). Each one of those injections I simply rubbed the horses neck as I would if I was simply saying hello, needle in, dose them, take it out and rub again as if nothing happened. Even my delightfully skittish little pony, who alone had 15 injections in 30 days, was happy as larry for me to give him his needles!
 

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We didn't use the pat pat poke method either at the equine hospital I worked at. A simple pinch and then slide the needle in where we were pinching. Patting actually makes alot of horses more tense and nervous. We also turn the head to us just slightly--helps loosen the muscle and if the horse decides to jumpt around his rear end goes away from you.

As far as actually getting used to it, it does take time. Everyone starts out nervous about it. But doing it just once a year may not be enough to make you really comfortable.
 
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