From the Veterinarian’s Mouth

The Horse: Do vets use a “one size fits all” protocol for sedation/anesthesia?

Hubbell: Many equine veterinarians have developed different dosing regimens for different breeds or types of horses based on their experiences.

Minimal data are available to directly support variations between breeds, but here are some observations I made during my career:

  • The atmosphere of the stable/training facility plays a role in the amount of sedation required for a given procedure.
  • If the owner or trainer works with the horse routinely and teaches it to behave appropriately, the horse will typically require smaller doses of sedative drugs.

I worked as a veterinary assistant while I was managing an average of 25 head of horses. I learned how true this is first hand. It is great to get confirmation form the vets themselves that a horse that understands what the vet ( and farrier) want them to do is MUCH easier to handle than one that does not. I also learned that a frightened sedated horse is even more of a danger to themselves and their handlers.

That’s why I insisted on including teaching people how to acclimate their horse to being handled by the veterinarian, dentist and farrier as part of the ground training in the first book of my series Light In the Saddle. Equine vets are a vanishing breed, so encourage yours to stay in business by making sure your horse is pleasant cooperative patient.

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