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Discussion on Safe sedation for clipping

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Margaret Manion (Memanion)
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 7, 2000 - 7:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 6 yo TB gelding (about 1000 lbs) whose only been off the track for about 10 months. Generally, this horse is pleasant and quiet for a raced TB. I've been retraining him to be a show hunter. He's about ready to show so he needs his ears, bridlepath and muzzle clipped on a routine basis. It became obvious after presenting the buzzing clippers and even with a twitch he was going to object by flying back. On the first episode of clipping I gave him 1 cc of Ace and after about 25 minutes he was quiet and with a nose twitch he tolerated the ears and bridlepath well. I, of course, was in the wrong place at the wrong time when I moved out of the way past the front of him (I was holding the twitch) to allow the person with the clippers to get to the other side. In the blink of an eye he went up and struck out with his front feet and wonked me on the head, Naturally, I don't want a repeat of this. I'd like some advice about safe sedation for a short episodes of clipping that would not require a vet in attendance, and would provide a good margin of safety for me and horse.
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Julie Donnelley (Juliedon)
Posted on Tuesday, Nov 7, 2000 - 10:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Margaret,

I have also encountered horses that have been scared of the clippers. With one horse I worked with he initially reared in the crossties. To counter his reaction to clippers I started to desensitize him to the noise when he was loose in his stall and I stood outside the stall and just turned the clippers on. Over a 3 day period I sporadically turned them on for periods of time and he became quite relaxed with the noise of the clippers. Next I put him in crossties and stood a distance back and turned them on. He was a little hesitant at first because I believed he associated the crossties with the SCARY clippers. However it did not take long and I could touch his shoulder and back area and just run the clippers over his lower body with them running. Soon he learned to trust me and the clippers did not scare him. I was able to start clipping his jaw and bridle path. Before I could clip his ears, I had to desensitize them to regular handling such as pulling and touching the inside of his ears with my fingers. Not long after I was clipping them. This entire process took me two weeks but he now stands half asleep in crossties when I clip him.

Julie D.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 8, 2000 - 7:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Julie's method is best but if you want quick and dirty....First realize the reason for the striking: the twitch being left on too long. This is the classic reaction. Never, never , never stand in front of a twitched horse or any horse for that manner if you can help it.

Any suggestion may have to be modified to fit the horse and circumstance so be prepared with extra sedation. I think if you mixed 2 cc ace with 1 cc xylazine gine IV that might work. But just about fool proof is 1/2 cc detomidine mixed with 1/4 cc torbugesic given IV. I should point out: do not stand/walk close behind sedated horses either.
DrO
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Margaret Manion (Memanion)
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 8, 2000 - 8:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, I realize I should never stand in front of a twitched horse. It was stupid and I know better. But I "fessed up"! Probably should have added that I did a short trial of the desensitization suggested by Julie and I agree this is the long term way to go. I will also fess up that I was probably not as consistent in this as I should have been. This is because I work at a non-equine job all day, so the time I get to spend with my horse is a few hours in the evening. So, I guess I take the quick and dirty route sometimes out of necessity due to time constraints. Any truth to the rumor I hear that ACE can cause a paradoxical reaction in some horses?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 8, 2000 - 10:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have never seen such nor is it reported in any literature that I have. You hear about these type reactions with xylazine, personally I think they mixed up their ketamine and xylazine and given the wrong one first.
DrO
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Margaret Manion (Memanion)
Posted on Wednesday, Nov 8, 2000 - 1:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks much to you both for the quick response!
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Angela Spucces (Rubysmom)
Posted on Thursday, Nov 9, 2000 - 3:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I recently body clipped my leased horse. As he is 5 years old and can be a bit of a handful. I decided to Ace before clipping to be sure he did not get upset.
We started off with 2cc IM, worked very nicely.
When we started on his head and ears, we decided to go with 2 more cc's IV.
He is a big horse 16.2 hh about 1200lbs, the dosage was perfect for him, he was extremely good for us.
I felt it was a good experience for him as he was still alert and awake, yet did not get restless or fidgety.
You can't use Ace if the horse is already upset, as it won't work, and may back fire on you. (Dr. O correct me if I am wrong, but that is my experience with Ace)
Margaret, glad you did not get too badly hurt when he struck out. Thanks for the heads up, I am bad about standing right in front of a horse, I will resolve to be more cautious in light of your experience.
I liked using the Ace, it worked well for the horse, it seemed to just take the "edge" off.
Just my experience. :)
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Thursday, Nov 9, 2000 - 7:21 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angela, your experience is just about right: it will take the edge off a nervous or slightly resistant horse but it will usually not keep a strongly resistant horse still.
DrO
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Marti Thompson
Member
Username: Marti

Post Number: 16
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 - 1:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr.O,
Is there any IM sedative that can be safely given to the very resistant horse? My 3 year old apparently had a bad clipper experience before I got him. I have tried running the clippers around him, next to him and all the slow stuff, but he acts scared to death of them.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 14852
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Feb 20, 2006 - 8:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Almost all the sedatives discussed here and at Equine Medications and Nutriceuticals ยป Sedatives & Anesthetics can be given IM Marti, and some by mouth. See the articles in the sedative section for complete information.
DrO
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