Tips for Feeding Medicines

Sometimes even the greediest horse can decide not to eat the medicine in its feed, there are a few things you can do to try and prevent this.

  • Always mix up fresh feed, adding the drug at the last minute
  • Many drugs have sugar coatings on them and as soon as they have been in contact with feed for more than 10 minutes, this will dissolve and the horse will taste the bitter drug, often once tasted they are very difficult to con into eating it again
  • Some drugs can be kept in the fridge, this reduces their odour, thereby increasing palatability.

The addition of a favourite substance to the feed can disguise drugs

  • We often add molasses to feed having first made sure the horse likes molasses
  • Other recommendations have included adding one (or more) of the following to feed - icing sugar, codlivine, peppermint oil (usually only a drop or two needed in a feed), diluted blackcurrant cordial, fresh or dried mint, garlic, pulped carrots or grated beetroot or swede
  • Some powdered drugs can be made into an apple sauce or jam sandwich, and pills can be disguised in a chunk of banana or bored out carrot or apple, in a piece of balled up malt loaf or in a peppermint cream or other soft mint sweet
  • The choice of disguise also has to be considered carefully for laminitics who should not have too much sugar – use sugar free custard or yoghurt
  • Some drugs come in paste formulations, these are often quite expensive but do mean you only have to give a small volume
  • Otherwise, it is possible to make up pastes from the powders; We would recommend using something thick, such as custard or yoghurt and squirting it through a dosing syringe.  Some things can be mixed with water but it is easier for horses to spit out
  • For some horses a frequent change of disguise is a useful technique in itself or a change of ‘suitable’ feed

Last reviewed October 2019