VETzInsight

Treating the Untouchable Horse

March 2, 2015 (published)

Do you have a horse who hates to be touched? Dr. Stacey Tarr from Colorado presented a paper at the AAEP convention on techniques to deal with untouchable horses. All veterinarians are faced with treating them from time to time, but Dr. Tarr indicates it is common in her area. She said there are many methods to deal with these horses but the key is to try to do everything safely for the horse and humans. She uses several methods, including placing a calm horse in with the untouchable wild horse and this seems to sometimes calm the wild horse. The calm horse can also act as a shield to prevent human injury when trying to inject the wild horse. Roping these horses may be required but is not preferable because this further excites the horse. Sometimes a saddled horse can help gently pen the untouchable horse for an injection.

All of these horses have to be sedated and most have to be anesthetized to examine and treat them. Most sedatives used in horses block adrenaline to calm the horse, and when a horse is excited, it requires a higher dose of sedation, sometimes even double the amount normally used. This higher dose can be dangerous for the horse and even a double dose may not be effective in sedating an excited wild horse. Also, if the horse is injured and treatment is required for several days, it is almost impossible to treat these horses correctly because you cannot sedate and anesthetize the horse every day. Lastly, the expense of treating a wild horse is going to be much more than a normal horse due to your veterinarian's time involved and increased amount of drugs used. So if you have a horse that is uncontrollable and not at least halter broke, please start working with your horse today. It will save you money and possibly your horse's life.


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