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Giving Pills to Horses: More Ideas to Avoid a Fight

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff • October 23, 2014

Pills for horses
Getting medications into horses can be a challenge. Some of the pills have a bitter taste or an 

Pills for horses

unappealing odor, and horses can be quite uncooperative about swallowing them. Mixing the medication into the horse’s feed is often successful, but if you simply crush the pill and mix it into sweet feed, it’s not unusual to find most of the powdery medicine in the bottom of the feed bin after all the grain has been eaten.
Finding a way to get the medicine into a slightly sticky form, so that it will stick to grain instead of sifting to the bottom of the bucket, helps in getting the horse to consume it. Some suggestions:
Combine the tablet with a few peppermint-flavored hard candies in a coffee grinder. Pulse until a powder forms. Dump into a cup or bowl, add just a little water, and dump the mixture on top of the horse’s grain ration.
Prepare a packet of instant oatmeal (try the apple-flavored kind), let it cool a bit, and stir in the crushed or powdered pill. Mix with the horse’s grain.
For horses that like bananas, either push the pill into the center of a chunk, or mash the banana, add powdered medication, and mix with feed.Pills hidden in horse food
If you are using a syringe to dose the horse after mixing the medicine with a carrier of yogurt or applesauce, he will probably accept it more readily if you have taken a few days to prepare for this treatment. Fill the syringe with unmedicated doses of the carrier and get the horse used to having this given orally. After he begins to look forward to the sweet treat, you won’t have a fight on your hands if you add powdered medicines. Do this periodically and he’ll always be accustomed to accepting whatever is in the syringe.