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maresrgreat (maresrgreat)
Junior Member
Username: maresrgreat

Post Number: 5950
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 09:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

HATES shots!! This is more than an inconvenience, it is so bad that when my dentist just came to do teeth we didn't do hers because she was so bad about the shots you give before it. She's fine for teeth (been done by floaters with no tranq, no prob) but any kind of shots and she totally loses it. It becomes a 2 person wrestling match with her and the vets! It bothers me so much she didn't get her spring shots or her teeth done this year.

My other 2 horses are fine no problems at all.

I am wondering she is only 11 hands. Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? What did you do to help it? Could it be the shot itself? Does a pony that small need a smaller needle? I am wondering if the shot hurts her so much she can't stand it? She is fine with everything else except this one thing. I was grooming her the other day and opened a bag of something, I forget what right now, and she totally flipped thinking I was going to give her a shot (opening the needle out of the paper wrapping). I had to show her the bag and let her see it was not a shot and no problems here to calm her down. Every spring the vet has somehow managed with great difficulty to mostly get shots into her. This year I've just had enough, it is traumatic for her and me. So she has not had her spring shots either.

I also feel from way back my vet goes at her with the shot right in front showing it to her. Then jabs her. I think this manner of giving it may have contributed to the problem. I always hide it, do some little bumps/taps with my fist against the neck for a while then when the are so relaxed, just give the shot. It has always worked in the past but my vet has always done these spring shots on her. Maybe if I spend training time on this with her myself I can somehow get her to be not so terrified?

So is there training out there that can be done for this? Is there any sense to using a smaller needle that might not hurt her? There are pony sizes for everything else. Lol... Seriously though any tips appreciated. She missed her teeth appointment with vet/dentist this year, as well as her spring shots, so this is starting to be very inconvenient. And I hate seeing her so terrified!

Any ideas???
delilah (delilah)
Junior Member
Username: delilah

Post Number: 3931
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 10:21 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My mule pony was the same way. She over time got better and doesn't fight now. I had to twist her lip while having her cornered in the stall while the vet gave the shots. Now she is much better still fearful but well behaved. Like your pony she was good for everything else. My farrier trims her without a lead rope or tied. Course I think she has a massive crush on him!!
tbtrakh (tbaby)
Junior Member
Username: tbaby

Post Number: 3578
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 10:45 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My younger horse went through a period of being dangerous with shots. When he was a year or two old he managed to rear up playing with his buddy somehow and crack his head on the doorway of the in/out. The bo found him in the morning munching on his hay with a gash in the top of his head so deep it went to the bone. I was at work an hour away and couldn't get there and neither could bo so a new strange vet and unfamiliar boarder held him for stitching up and antibiotics shot with big needle. He moved at the wrong time and the antibiotics stung badly plus head injuries are very painful. Vet had to come back for a few days for more antibiotics shots to prevent infection and my boy was so terrified he was dangerous. I think he hurt a couple of people the first day.
For years it was difficult to give any vaccines. My awesome vet got all preparations of opening and measuring the shots done well away from him so he had no warning and made sure to never let him see the needle. She'd just walk in and start petting his neck or butt or wherever the shot would be to distract him and give it while patting him roughly and fast so he didn't have time to notice. And used the smallest needles possible. Also gave him treats or grain to distract him.
He's fine now doesn't even blink. Years later. He can see the needles now but still best to try to hide them.
gidget (gidget)
Junior Member
Username: gidget

Post Number: 153
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 11:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is also a tranquilizer that you can give orally ahead of time. I used it this past spring for a 14.1 hand pony I have who also does not like shots. You give it just like you would wormer about an hour or so before the vet comes. I can't remember the name of it, but I'm sure your vet would know.
jcluvhrses (jcluvhrses)
Junior Member
Username: jcluvhrses

Post Number: 13366
Registered: N/A
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 03:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My mini mare developed a fear of getting shots and was horrible. She initially was okay but then after changing vet's she was jabbed without any patting or introduction and then became beligerant and would rear up and pull away. I then started training her to get a shot by putting a halter and lead on her giving a treat. Patting, slapping her neck, giving a treat. Pinching her neck, giving a treat. I would give the treat no matter her response to what I did and then repeat it over and over up to 30 times. My treats were very small pieces of carrots. Then when she was fine with all of that and no longer reacted I opened up a paper clip and would lightly poke her with the end of it after lightly tapping the area with my hand and gave her a treat. It took about a week doing this every day. She is now fine with getting shots but we do the tapping first on her neck to prepare her that it's coming and she get's a treat after the shot. In fact this spring when I gave her her shots I didn't even have a halter on her when I did it and she was fine. She didn't move away as she knew the routine of a treat at the end.
Everything is a choice.
maresrgreat (maresrgreat)
Junior Member
Username: maresrgreat

Post Number: 5952
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 06:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow jc! That is amazing and that really gives me hope!!

Do you think it is possible to get a smaller needle from the vet, might that help?

I really think my vets approach to her caused this problem.

I think I could do what you did. My pony is really really terrified though, possibly even more than yours was.

I will give this a try. Sounds good. Thanks.

Also, thank you everyone for your advice. It is so good to hear what others have gone through and what has worked for you. I am looking at every possible option. Makes me sick to see her so afraid. :-(
standrdbrdrider (standrdbrdrider)
New member
Username: standrdbrdrider

Post Number: 61
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 07:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As an employee I was assisting the barn owner holding horses for the vet on spring shots day. For lack of a better description, I was attacked by a middle aged gelding while his shot was being administered. I am so thankful it was my arm and not my face.
As a barn manager I had a creative vet who would take the horse on a lead and walk in a small circle outside. At the right moment, she would vaccinate while walking. No drugs, no drama, no injuries. Some risk, but it diffused the situation and worked.
Hatrick (cha)
Junior Member
Username: cha

Post Number: 1509
Registered: 12-1997
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2018 - 09:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have bought a fake shot at the party stores to practice this, when hired for this problem. Like was mentioned the horse see's it and thinks pain. Some vets (young ones) do not have a good bedside manner and go at the horse like a predator. If the horse is not a kicker the shot can go in the butt, and there will not be the same association. It can also co in brisket. agree treat after is a good idea.
From Parts Unknown
jcluvhrses (jcluvhrses)
Junior Member
Username: jcluvhrses

Post Number: 13367
Registered: N/A
Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 07:13 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's a process mares of them associating a shot with a good thing. You could certainly use just a smaller needle I found that it didn't really matter that the paperclip associated it close enough. I did let her move around me as well, I didn't demand she stand still as I think movement does help distract as standrdbrdrider said.
My mini was pretty bad, rearing up and then trying to crash into you and through you like her life depended on it.
Everything is a choice.
tbtrakh (tbaby)
Junior Member
Username: tbaby

Post Number: 3579
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 08:48 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's what my younger horse did, he was a young stallion at the time who thought the vet was attacking him and quickly went into flight or fight mode.
He wouldn't rear if I held him but would throw his body into me and basically run me over and shove me into fences and walls. I had thought he'd learned and was respectful of personal space with people until he was literally terrified.
With the vet and anyone else he'd rear and even strike out so I guess he was behaving for me.
He's fine now but I still ask the vet to hide the needles and all traces of needles just to be cautious.
CDE Morgan (cdemorgan)
Junior Member
Username: cdemorgan

Post Number: 510
Registered: N/A
Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 09:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My young horse had 2 very traumatic experiences requiring the vet to clean wounds and bandage him as a yearling. He had to be sedated for both episodes. From that point on he was dangerous for the vet. I used Dormosidan (Dorm) gel (under the tongue - which also is an issue for him) for a few appointments, but it was still a fight. It wasn't until he had to go to Tufts for a major allergy episode that we learned their secret. He got Ace tablets, then when settled he got the Dorm gel. They were able to do all the injections and procedures after that. Because of his allergies he started on allergy shots. We always give lots of treats and he's now learned (after 2 years of allergy shots) that shots are not that bad because he gets lots of treats. He still gets tense, but I no longer need to give Ace or Dorm. I agree with doing the poking/pinching exercises with lots of treats. Oh, and my original vet retired, so there is a one - but he wasn't great for her to start either.
missmagetta (missmagetta)
Junior Member
Username: missmagetta

Post Number: 3642
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, August 31, 2018 - 08:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I’ve reworked many dogs and a gelding like a this. I was a vet tech and we had a lot of dogs like this. The gelding had allergies and we had to start allergy shots. I used an unfolded paper clip, began with gentle pokes and an immediate treat then slowly increased the poke strength. As they get acclimated to the poke feeling you can add a “warning word” like “poke” so they know it’s coming and again follow with a treat. A bajillion positive associations with “poke” = treat then when the real one is needed, “poke”, shot, really good treats.
"I Don't Whisper, I Translate!"
Happy in NH

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