Horse terrified of vet - anyone else?

pottamus

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After a bad experience when I took my horse in for some tests at the vet, he is now terriifed of them and his yearly booster jab is getting harder and harder and more dangerous to do. Once he is stressed there is no reasoning with him at all...in the end this morning I managed to persuade the vet to let me try injecting him and I did manage to get half in him but then he went berserk again. In the end I managed to back him up to his stable door and the vet injected him in the bum from outside his stable! So job was done but each year it is a real stress and I worry about not managing to get him done and wasting a call out.

The vet has said to try him over the door again next year but he may remember and have none of it...he is a strong Welsh Cob - so there is no holding him if he takes flight with you!

The other alternative is sedative prior to the vet visit...does anyone have to do this and does it work effectively on an easily stressed horse who is very strong willed???
Thanks
 
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My friend has a chunky NF who is terrified of the vet, after years of fights, and her injecting herself several times! they found the best way to do him is to lead him out to the field and jab him on route!
 

ecrozier

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Mine is like this. He doesn't bite or kick, just barges straight through me/whoever is holding him. I don't like doing it but we have found that twitching him works - it's quick and then it's over and done with. I do think I might try the new oral sedative next time though, domosedan? As that's meant to be much more effective - sedalin makes no difference at all!
 

MissMincePie&Brandy

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One of mine is like that. He is suspicious of all strange men, thinking they could be a vet! If we have friends visiting the yard, or if the yard staff bring boyfriends up, I always ask them to give my TB a treat and a pat, and I always ask the vet just to spend a quiet moment with the horse before they start looking or poking around the problem area :)

I have found a skin twitch (grab some skin from the neck and twist it round) is quite an effective and simple way of distracting him for an injection. I ask the vets to inject in the neck rather than in the rump, as it's easier for me to control him if he reacts badly. Injecting in the rump is fraught with danger and on more than one occasion the vet has narrowly missed flying hooves!

On a few occasions I've had to pop a nose twitch on. Have you tried this with your cob?

You could ask the vet if he wanted to try it in a field - perhaps your horse would be more comfortable there.

As a last resort you could try some sedalin, but I have found that horses who have a real fear of something can easily fight sedalin. There is a stronger sedative which you rub under the tongue and into the gums, and is absorbed through the mucus membranes called Dormosedan Gel. However you need to check with the vet beforehand if you intend to try this. It might not be wise to give him a drug that may react with something the vet may want to administer.
 

bugsylugs

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My girl is suspicious of all new men but as long as I'm with her she trusts me enough to stay calm and not take flight from them. She gives them a haughty 'who are you' look when they enter her stable. It's quite funny really!

With yours is it the same vet that did the test you mentioned? If so would it be possible for another vet to do the jabs? Or does he know you're holding a needle and just become fearful?

If the later could you get an old syringe or similar and start a trust exercise that shows it's not always going to hurt him and something nice always happens after he's been near it?

I have to agree with Misinterpreted that Sedalin is not always good after having a horse nearly kick my head in and squash me whilst sedated with it for clipping! He looked fine but fought it and then you couldn't tell he'd been under at all. I'd twitch before sedation as you end up fighting to sedate causing stress still.
 
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SophieLouBee

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My horse tries to kill the vet, she hates them. She rears and strikes out with her feet. My vet is very good though, he just gets it all done as quickly as possible, the longer you faff, the worse she becomes. She shakes the needles out of her neck, so he has to have it on the syringe and just jab it in and go (not the best proffessed method, but he's very old and very precise lol).

I have to wedge her in the corner and cover her eyes if she requires an examiation. I find she is a lot calmer if she cant see what's going on.
I don't know what has happened in the past, but she really does detest the vet.
 

madeleine1

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my new mare had her injection in may.

ive had her a year but knew her b4 that.

i knew we may have issues with the injection so i warned the vet and we decided to just try and see what happened. she tryed to put the needle in the mares chest but the mare reared up and bum barged the vet out the way and then tryed to kick her and came down from the rear with her head hiting mine.

the needle didnt go of and the needle was bent.

i decided to walk mare round the field for a minute or twos calm down before second attempt but the vet couldnt get near her again and if i touched her on the chest or neck she did little bunny hop rears till i took my hand away. vet asked me if i could get hold of her nose and after some head waving and fussing with my getting thrurally covered in horse snot i did get hold of her nose so we decided to try a twich as she was clearly stressed and it seemed much nicer. as i got the twich on and then within seconds horse was sleeping nicely and the vet just walked up put the injection in her neck and walked away i took the twich of and put her back in the field all done.

im wasnt sure about the use of twiches before but for 2 minutes and no stress it is definatly going on next time as the vet arrives but befor they are out of their car and just get it done quick with no stress.
 

StormyMoments

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is it all vets or have you always used the same one as my horse has a problem with one i have used but everyone else is fine by him but we had to change as he is a medium build ISH 17.2hh so not something you wanna fight with, she had to sudate him to clip a little square and he ussually falls asleep while clipping /: so we had a change around :)
 

coen

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My horse went through a stage of being terrible the best thing to do is do it without them noticing.
Last year as we knew he was going to be a pain (resulting from injecting antibiotics daily) the vet walked along side him and injected him in the bum without him realising, as soon as I put him in the stable he reared, silly sod didn't know it had already been done.
This year a lady vet came out and we had no problem at all he didn't move.
He obviously thinks all vets are male.

If neither of the above are possible and he does go into one then neck twitch him and walk him in circles in the stable the vet will stay at the side of his bum and jab him.
 

Echo Bravo

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No good answers but just glad(sorry) that my mare isn't the only one who is a nightmare where vets and dentists are concerned, feel much better that I'm not the only one:):):):)
 
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had same problem, my vet is great though and i only just get headcollar on and he has done the injection so the mare hardly notices! lol :cool:

we have a washroom with cross ties which makes it safer for vet and everybody else!

good luck! :)
 

Dry Rot

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I had an interesting discussion with my farrier on this very subject. He said he often lent his jersey (presumably smelling strongly of horses!) to the local vet when he had to deal with a difficult patient.

My own approach is gradual desensitisation as part of normal youngster training. I'll pinch the horse's neck and then give a reward. The object is to train the horse to believe that mild pain in that area leads to a pleasurable experience.

This approach has been known for centuries. Wonder how they got the horses to charge the Russian guns in the Charge of the Light Brigade? The cavalry fired a cannon at midday at the barracks when the horses got their hard feed -- so cannon fire was something good!
 

Loopypony

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My cob had a bad experience with a particular vet whereby he reared up and hit his head twice. It started that he didn't like that one vet but it's now moved on to all vets. Last year he ended up cow-kicking the vet...he now has a 'mark' next to his name on the vet's register computer thing.

He has to be done outside the stable and he has to get to know the vet a bit first. Then it has to be a quick run around to get the injection in! Luckily our current vet is quite patient and allows him time.

Not sure what to do next with him if he gets much worse though! He fights sedative of any kind and will not stand being twitched etc...
 

miss_molly

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Lots of desensitisation work needed.

Get horse used to as many different people (male and female) walking up, stroke all over and then leave.

Practice with syringe pretending to do jab in neck, chest and rump.

Have a jacket you wear regularly and ask vet to put this on before coming up to horse (they often smell too clean and surgical)

Have a very expereinced vet who can jab on the move, not a newcomer who struggles to get needle in.

Thats about all I can offer
 

blood_magik

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Mine used to be an absolute nightmare - one of the grooms had to ride him around and jab him with the needle to give him his injections.
He is very protective of his personal space so he comes out of his box as he gets very stressed and ends up panicking - not safe at all.

He's a lot better now - he will stand for his injections albeit he has to be coaxed :rolleyes:
He can still tell a vet from a "normal" person
 

rockysmum

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One of our is shocking with vets. This is because of a bad experience when being micro chipped followed by a week at Liverpool having an operation.

I dread annual injection time and had no idea how we were going to get her teeth done.

Our vets bring a metre of tube with them when they do her injections. We bring her to the door with some food, they jab the needle in and then stand back and push the injection in through the tube from a safe distance.

Sedalin will calm her until the vet arrives, its just not strong enough to make a real difference. She can be funny with her head so twitching does not work.

The dentist came last week and suggested I get some of the new oral sedative from the vet. Its called Dem something, apparently not all vets will let you have it. As I suspected, ours did, I doubt they had any desire to sedate her themselves. Its was terrific, knocked her out as well as an injected sedative. The dentist managed to do her teeth with power tools.
 

Blaise

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My youngest is horrendous! She had a puncture wound just above her knee earlier this year & it took the vet and me 45 minutes to get any sedation in to examine the wound! She is the biggest wimp on 4 legs so we couldn't get anywhere near it without sedation & she was already far too wound up for oral sedation to work. Twitches are no good with her either, she fights even more. She did the 'wall of death' around the stable more times than i care to remember and spent much of the time up on back legs or squashing us against the wall. Everytime the vet got a needle in she went straight up so it came out again. Even when heavily sedated, when it came time to give injectable antibiotics & painkillers her front legs still came off the floor. She'd never been good with injections but not usually quite this bad. Her booster was due in may and thankfully my vet has come across several similar characters before so she just came up to the field with me, i put a headcollar on, vet gave a carrot and i started to lead towards the gate, stopped just before to open gate and vet jabbed quickly! Horse in question hardly even noticed, jumped to the side a bit & looked round at her but that was about it. I know that's not going to work in emergency situations but it's certainly what i'll be doing for routine things in the future. Thankfully the old girl is as good for the vet as the young 'un is bad so they even each other out! :D
 

Foxhunter49

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Horses get like this because you allow their worry/fear to overtake all sense.

I have had several that reacted in the same way and all I did was to get very cross with them, I will slap them with the rope across their chest and chase them backwards around the stable waving my arm and generally going on the attack. When they show signs of submission the vet will do the jab with no problem. It takes all of two minutes but the horse is more thoughtful of my reaction than he is of his own.

When I was on holiday one horse I had here was having antibiotic injections. The woman who was looking after the horses told me she would get the twitch for him. I walked in and he tensed up and backed away. I just poked him in the neck with my finger and said "You dare!' he knew what I meant and just stood there halterless whilst I jabbed him.

It is being matter of fact about it all and the horse respecting that what you do is OK.
 

Spring Feather

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I have to say I completely agree with Foxhunter49. I've also had a couple of horses over the years that have arrived with vet phobias. I don't stand for it and I do tell them off and back them up until they stand quietly for the vet to do his job. I loathe bad mannered horses so they soon learn that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and that we like good manners here. I would never expect a vet to risk putting himself in danger when treating one of my horses.
 

princess+dude

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My horse is awful and i was told by a previous vet that she was dangerous and then refused to treat her! Luckily my new vet is great but everytime he comes she has to have 10acp prior to him getting there! It hardly makes a difference but does slow her down as otherwise she aims at you! We have also found that when the vet comes they must not smell 'clinical' as they wont make it to the stable door.. I tried domesdan gel with her previously and personally i thought it was rubbish and horrible to watch her come out of!!!!
 
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99.9% of horses, are not afraid of humans, and yes that includes vets,
it is the way they are conditioned and treated.
Whatever you are thinking, is picked up in an instant by your horse, so when you are expecting trouble, it will happen.
A visit from the vet, usually means some form of tratment for your horse, and of course, they assosiate the vet with discomfort, to a more or less degree.
A vet has a distinctive smell, your horse picks this up as soon as the car arrives on the yard,
Very much like some humans dislike or are afraid of the dentist, hospital, or VAT inspector, we expect the worst and the smell of the enviroment hightens our stress levels.
One way around "fear " of the vet is to take your horse away from the stable, Your horses stable is the one place he should feel 100% secure and stress free, and never be subjected to fear, pain in his stable.
So many good horses have been ruined for life by not having a safe and secure place to rest .
I breed clydesdales, and you cant force them to do anything, if and when I do have problems, i sit down and let my senses and brain look for the problem, and then see it from the horses point of view, you will always find a solution, So many of us dont have time to bond and do this, As with all forms of riding, everything starts in the head. and from the ground.
 
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