Just a Spoonful of Sugar: 5 Tips to Get Your Horse to Take Medicine

Posted by Paige Cerulli
Jodi Bratch via Flickr.com
Jodi Bratch via Flickr.com

Horses are notorious for being difficult about taking medicine, but here are five tips that can help you to give your horse his meds more easily.

At some point during your horse’s life, it’s likely that you’ll have to give him medicine. Horses have a great sense of smell and taste, which means they can often pick medicines out of their feed or just decide not to eat at all.

If you have to medicate your horse, these five tips can make it easier for you both.

Hide Pills in Treats

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adrianbartel via Flickr.com

If you have to give your horse a small pill, you may be able to hide it in treats. Consider putting the pill into a hole that you’ve hollowed out in an apple or carrot.

The treat may mask the pill until your horse has already swallowed it.

Get Meds in Paste Form

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Brandon Geisbrecht via Flickr.com

If your horse is talented in sniffing out powdered medicines in his feed, ask your vet if the medicines are available in paste form.

Many meds can be administered via a syringe, just like a wormer, though they typically cost a little bit more in paste form. However, the price difference may be worth it if it means that you can easily and accurately give your horse his medication.

Syringe the Medicine In

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US Army Africa via Flickr.com

Some pills can be crushed and dissolved in water so that you can pour them into a dosing syringe and syringe them directly into your horse’s mouth.

Just be sure to check with your vet first to make sure that you can safely crush the meds prescribed to your horse.

Disguise Meds in Grain

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Inspector_81 via Flickr.com

You may need to doctor up your horse’s grain a bit in order to disguise the meds that you’ve put into it. Adding in appealing things like some sweet feed, molasses, or even peppermints can conceal the smell and taste of the meds.

Just be careful not to overdo it with the sugar – too much is bad for your horse.

Ask for Injectables

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ZaldyImg via Flickr.com

If medicating your horse is truly a struggle, your vet may be able to inject medicines in a single shot, minimizing the effort that you have to go through.

This is commonly done with antibiotics, and ensures that your horse receives the full dose of medication that he needs.

What tricks do you tend to use when giving your horse medicine?

Tell us in the comments below!

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Just a Spoonful of Sugar: 5 Tips to Get Your Horse to Take Medicine