For sedating a
There is a newer drug now available as a syringe, detomidine (sold as Domosedan gel), which is absorbed across the membranes in the mouth so shouldn’t usually be given with food, but does work faster and give better sedation than ACP. Many injectable sedatives can be given into the muscle – this injection is more reliable than by mouth, but requires much higher doses than if given into the vein (in my experience, you need 4-5 times as much, and it takes about twice as long to work).
Of course, in reality (as usual with anything equine! For those who haven’t seen it before, a sedated horse doesn’t lie down, but their head gets lower and lower, and they may require something to lean on to help them balance.
It’s also important to remember that a sedated horse CAN still kick – they’re just much less likely to do so!
It often seems that the horse is still more or less aware of what’s going on around them, but they’re too sleepy to care about it.
Overdose of a sedative is rarely fatal in a healthy horse, but it can still be dangerous, especially if there is any underlying illness that makes them less good at maintaining their blood pressure.
Its also vitally important to tell your vet the horse’s whole medical history if you’re asking them to give a sedative – there have been cases of horses who were being treated with a (very safe) antibiotic (TMPS); the owner forgot to tell a vet this, and the combination of sedative and this antibiotic has resulted in a heart attack (technically, a fatal arrhythmia).
Fortunately, it also has very few side effects, although its worth bearing in mind that any other opiates (e.g.