Fear of injections - also in vet forum

humph

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My husband has lent me his horse for the summer and I'd arranged for the vet to come out and rasp his teeth (horse not husband) and warned that he may need sedating because he needs sedating to clip.

My husband had him at a hunting yard before so I had no involvement and don't know how he reacted when sedated before.

Anyway, he was absolutely terrified and reared up and struck out when the vet came near with the needle and yet would let her stroke him when the needle wasn't there. She decided to jab him in the muscle instead of the vein and when she got the needle in he whipped around and kicked her right on the hip. Poor girl was in agony - she's going to get checked over by the hospital and I sincerely hope she's ok. Obviously we never got any sedative into him so didn't rasp his teeth.

Firstly, he's a very kind and gentle horse and I am 100% certain that this was out of sheer terror rather than malice.

I would love advice on how to teach him to overcome this fear. The vet said they could put him in stocks at the clinic but I think this might just worsten his fear. Could we give him oral sedative?

Any advice would be massively appreciated.
 

lauraandjack

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You could give him oral sedalin but the results are very unreliable. Some horses are nearly on the floor, others it doesn't touch them.

I have used a blindfold with success on the most evil horse to inject I have ever come across. This one was not scared though, just evil, trying to squash people against the wall and jump on your head etc. They use blindfolds on racehorses which seems to calm them down to get them into the stalls etc.

Also does he react to a twitch? Sometimes a twitch is enough to quieten them that you can get the injection in without risk to the handlers.
 

humph

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thanks laura, I think the oral sedative seems the best route to start off on and see how he reacts to it.

Blindfold might be worth trying but the times that he actually kicked and struck out were when the needle went in, as if in shock at the pain so I slightly feel that he might do the same with a blindfold on.

Sadly, I don't have a twitch so we didn't try that, but again might be worth trying.

Thanks for your advice
 

lauraandjack

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In my experience of horse from hell, he may well still jump/strike out at the needle when blindfolded but they definitely jump around less as they are disorientated, and can't see you to aim!

The best kind of twitch I have found is a piece of string on a bull ring or similar, once you have twisted the string you thread the lead rope through the ring and there is no nasty big stick for the horse to smack you round the head with.

Good luck and be careful! No horse is worth someone getting seriously hurt over! I have refused to do evil horse's teeth again, as even sedated, blindfolded and twitched it is still downright dangerous.
 

mle22

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I had a pony that was absolutely terrified of injections and found that a blindfold worked best of all. We would cover her head before she even got to see the vet was there. When they are tense the needle hurts more - so if the vet can get it done without any initial tension it can be over and done before the horse thinks to react.
 

girla

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One of my horses were terrified of the needle (partly because the bloody vet couldn't find the vein & used him as a pin cushion) but as lauraandjack suggested a twitch can help. When you put it on my fella he went straight off to sleep. You can make one very easily buy cutting a pick axe handle to half it's length, then drill a hole at the top, thread with rope about the size of your fist or slightly bigger and then tie. I only ever used on his lip 'never on his ear as i know some people do this ans it causes extreme pain.
 

humph

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Thanks both of you - interesting thought blindfolding before the vet's even in sight because then you could get it in and done pretty quickly, if they're not second guessing and anxious - like you say done before they've even realised what you're about to do.

I'd thought that it must be more painful when tense.
 

mtj

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I can confirm the pain angle from personal experience..A nurse once took 3 attempts to give me a Hep A vaccine and I've been a bit woozy about jabs ever since.

2 weeks time I'm booked for a typhoid. a blind fold sounds good to me!
 

girla

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Forgot to mention when you have removed the twitch DO NOT rub his lip as this can cause scarring, don't ask me how but apparently you should just un wind the twitch and leave to settle
 

emma69

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Ask your doc for a diazapam to take before the injection. I am totally needle phobic, but like you, have the brains to realize that some jabs are necessary. I am actually allergic to many injections (something in the preservative used) so I suffer big style! When I used to get my jabs done at work, I would take diazapam before having them done - I would still white knuckle it, but it was better than without! I then spent the rest of the day at my desk in la la land
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However, now I have to drive to the doctors, so can't dose up - and I had to have a lot of blood work done a couple of years ago - I hated hated hated it!
 

mtj

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I'll be alright with a bit deep breathing!

I don't have such a good reason as you. the worst reaction i've suffered is nearly fainting when i left the docs after the nurse's 3rd stab. i'm not usually a fainter. I now have jabs on the bed rather than in a chair.

Seriously though, I was so tense by the 3rd attempt, that it did make a big difference to the pain level
 

Christmas Crumpet

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My old horse would go spastic every time he saw the vet coming with an injection - we had to twitch him and that was pretty difficult getting the twitch on. However, once on he was fine.

My current horse though is like a lamb with injections but you can't twitch him when you want to clip him. After 2/3 minutes of the twitch he starts groaning, eyes rolling cue lashing out, standing on 2 legs and waving legs in the air etc. Horses eh?!! Actually I can't blame them for their reactions. I hate injections and I'd hate to have a rope round my top lip twisted really tightly so that someone could shave me naked esp. in tickly bits!!
 

loopylucifer

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Mine has ACP gel (4- 5 mls) before the vet arrives to give an IV injection IM are not quite as bad as you can kind of stab her and hope for the best although theses usually take a few attempts!
 

MurphysMinder

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Our pony is a nightmare to inject, in fact to do pretty much anything with vet wise, not totally her fault as she had a bad experience with a vet when she fractured her leg. She had to be sedated quite often whilst leg was being treated. Our wonderful horse vet was superb with her. He got out of the car and walked to the stable chatting with me, as I started to open the door and took hold of her head collar he had done her
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She was so busy worrying about what he was going to do after he had come in she never expected it so didn't put up a fight. Okay IM takes a bit longer to work but saved a fight and her getting all stressed. Agree another solution would be to give ACP before vet comes to take the edge off the horse.
 

kellyeaton

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my boy has a fear of needles he is ok to have his teeth done lucky but to have his booster or bloods taken it takes 4 people and a twitch before you can get any where!
 
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