Skip to content

How To Get A Horse To Eat Powdered Medicine

How To Get A Horse To Eat Powdered Medicine

Administering medication to horses can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to powdered medicine. Horses are known for their selective eating habits and can be quite resistant to consuming anything that tastes or smells different. However, with the right approach and techniques, you can successfully get a horse to eat powdered medicine. In this article, we will explore various methods and strategies to ensure your horse receives the necessary medication without any hassle.

Understanding the Challenge

Before diving into the techniques, it is important to understand why horses may be reluctant to consume powdered medicine. Horses have a highly developed sense of taste and smell, which helps them identify potential toxins in their environment. This sensitivity can make it difficult to introduce new substances, such as medication, into their diet. Additionally, horses are creatures of habit and prefer consistency in their feed. Any change in taste or texture can trigger their natural instinct to avoid unfamiliar substances.

1. Mixing with Feed

One of the most common methods to get a horse to eat powdered medicine is by mixing it with their regular feed. However, it is crucial to ensure that the medication is thoroughly mixed to avoid any clumps or concentrated doses. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Start by adding a small amount of the powdered medicine to a small portion of the horse’s feed.
  • Mix it well, ensuring that the medication is evenly distributed.
  • Gradually increase the amount of medicine over several days, allowing the horse to adjust to the taste and smell.
  • Monitor the horse closely to ensure they are consuming the entire dose.

It is important to note that some horses may become suspicious of changes in their feed. In such cases, you can try adding a palatable flavoring agent, such as molasses or apple sauce, to mask the taste of the medication.

2. Using Pill Pockets

Another effective method is to use pill pockets specifically designed for horses. These pill pockets are soft treats that can be easily molded around the medication, making it more appealing to the horse. Here’s how you can use pill pockets:

  • Place the powdered medicine in the center of the pill pocket.
  • Mold the pill pocket around the medication, ensuring it is completely covered.
  • Offer the pill pocket to the horse as a treat.
  • Monitor the horse to ensure they consume the entire treat, including the medication.

Pill pockets are available in various flavors, which can help mask the taste of the medication and make it more enticing for the horse.

3. Compounding the Medication

In some cases, it may be necessary to have the medication compounded by a veterinary pharmacy. Compounding involves altering the form, flavor, or delivery method of the medication to make it more palatable for the horse. This can be particularly useful for horses with specific dietary restrictions or aversions. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if compounding is a suitable option for your horse.

4. Using Oral Syringes

If the above methods are unsuccessful, you can try administering the powdered medicine directly using an oral syringe. Here’s how:

  • Measure the appropriate dose of the powdered medicine.
  • Fill the oral syringe with a small amount of water or a palatable liquid.
  • Add the powdered medicine to the syringe and mix it well.
  • Place the syringe in the corner of the horse’s mouth and slowly depress the plunger to release the medication.
  • Ensure the horse swallows the medication by gently massaging their throat.

It is important to be cautious while using oral syringes to avoid any injury to the horse. Seek guidance from your veterinarian on the proper technique and dosage.

5. Training and Conditioning

Training and conditioning your horse to accept powdered medication can be a long-term solution. By gradually introducing new tastes and textures into their diet, you can help desensitize them to the medication. Here are some tips:

  • Start by offering small amounts of powdered supplements or flavored treats to the horse.
  • Gradually increase the amount and frequency of these additions over time.
  • Pair the introduction of new substances with positive reinforcement, such as praise or a small reward.
  • Be patient and consistent in your training approach.

Over time, the horse will become more accepting of new flavors and textures, making it easier to administer powdered medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I mix the powdered medicine with water and syringe it into the horse’s mouth?

While this method may work for some horses, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before attempting it. Some medications may not dissolve properly in water or may have specific administration instructions.

2. How can I ensure my horse is consuming the entire dose of medication?

Monitoring your horse closely during the administration of medication is crucial. Look for signs that they have swallowed the medication, such as swallowing movements or an empty mouth. If you suspect the horse is not consuming the entire dose, consult with your veterinarian for alternative methods.

3. Can I mix the powdered medicine with a different type of feed?

It is generally recommended to mix the medication with the horse’s regular feed to maintain consistency. However, if your horse refuses to eat the medication mixed with their regular feed, you can try mixing it with a different type of feed that they find more palatable.

4. Are there any alternative forms of medication available for horses?

Yes, there are alternative forms of medication available for horses, such as oral pastes or injectables. However, the availability of these forms may vary depending on the specific medication and the horse’s condition. Consult with your veterinarian to explore alternative options.

5. Can I crush the medication into a finer powder to make it more palatable?

Crushing the medication into a finer powder may alter its effectiveness or release properties. It is important to consult with your veterinarian before altering the form of the medication.

6. What should I do if my horse consistently refuses to eat the powdered medication?

If your horse consistently refuses to eat the powdered medication, consult with your veterinarian for alternative methods or medications. They may be able to provide you with additional guidance or prescribe a different form of medication.


Administering powdered medication to horses