Horse refusing meds

p green

I've only cared for Fargo for two weeks, he's on a lease right now so I can explore how manageable his condition is.  His previous caretaker gave his med in a small piece of apple so I've continued that for now.  But today he refused the bit of apple.  I had to place it far enough back so he couldn't spit it out.  Not ideal.  

I'd like some ideas on how to coax him to eat his meds easily and consistently.  Unsweetened applesauce?  A small piece of a german muffin? (Yes, yes, I understand sugar is not ideal, but neither is spitting the med out.)  Any help is greatly appreciated.  If I can't manage his condition reasonably well, he'll have to go back to a less than ideal living arrangement with his owner.
Patti and Fargo 
Madison,Wisconsin  --  April 2015

Kerry Isherwood

You can always syringe it in. I mix 1.5mg Prascend in 8mls water (12-ml syringe) and by the time i walk down to the barn its dissolved and ready to give.

Initially my mare ate the pills in a hollowed out carrot piece for abt 3 days before completely going off all treats. I tried everything to get her to eat the pills but looking back, really wish I'd just gone to the syringing method earlier bc its just so much easier and wouldve saved alot of time & anguish. She still refuses to take treats from me after the carrot incident 7 months later but will take treats from others. Apparently im distrusted for life now.

There is a file full of suggestions for coaxing meds in using safe foodstuffs. And theres always a syringe!

Good luck,
Kerry in NY

Sara Gooch


Hi Patti,

     It's frustrating I know, going to great lengths to find something your horse might accept as a carrier for the pergolide, then watching them spit it out.  For well over a year, one of my PPID mares willingly ate a pergolide capsule on top of a small handful of safe pellets.

Then she stopped accepting pergolide that way or any way. I tried lots of other safe  treat-like carriers and she refused everything after she realized it might be hiding the pill. 

     Now I use a 12 mL syringe with the nozzle-end cut off, fill it with about 10mL of unsweetened applesauce, stick the whole  pergo cap into the applesauce, just far enough so it doesn't fall out, and I stick the syringe through the side of her mouth to the back of her tongue and squirt it out. She willingly takes the applesauce, and if I get it back far enough on her tongue, swallows the pill. If she manages to spit it out, I wipe the pill off on my pant leg, and we do it again, and I make more of an effort to get it way back on her tongue.

     I admit, to get her to accept the syringe, I just used applesauce with no pergolide a couple times at first. Now I can dose her with the applesauce and pergolide without haltering her. No fuss at all. I use compounded pergolide from Pet Health Pharmacy, and her 6 mg capsule is very small, the same size capsule as a 2mg dose, so it easily fits in a 12 mL syringe. I use a serrated knife to cut off the nozzle-end of the syringe, and leave a tiny rim, to stop the plunger from pushing out the end.

All in all, with this mare, the syringe method has been less time consuming and less stress. Especially with not having to open or dissolve the capsules.

Best wishes!

Sara, 2011

NE California   

Lesley Fraser

Hi Patti and Fargo

I had a similar problem. After trying various things, which all worked for a bit and were then spat out, the problem was resolved by using a recipe from this site. I bake the treats so that they come out slightly soft, and I can then push the Prascend into them. Works every time. I’m not much good at baking, but these are easy to make.

Best wishes

Lesley & Omar
UK, 2012

Low sugar horse treats

• !/2 cup of unsweetened apple purée/sauce
• 2 x tablespoons of cinnamon
• 2 x cups of hot water
• 1 x 500g bag of organic ground flaxseed

Pre-heat the oven to 180C (170C for a fan-assisted oven).

1. Put the flaxseed and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir.
2. Add the apple purée/sauce.
3. Add 2 cups of hot water.
4. Mix it all together with a spoon.
5. Once it's cooled a little, mix it well with your hands until the dough is smooth.
6. Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
7. Place the dough on it and spread the dough with your hands so that it evenly covers the tray (not too thinly - about 1 inch thick).
8. Once the dough has been smoothed out, score it into treat-sized small squares. Do this before baking as it will be harder to cut afterwards.
9. Bake for about 45-50 minutes for chewy, 55-60 for crunchy, then leave to cool.
10. Store it in the fridge (stays fresh for about a week). I usually freeze it and take out a week's worth at a time.


My Cushing's gelding takes is meds pretty good with a little scoop of Stabul 1 banana flavored pellets (I order the large sample from the company, but the treat crumbles available on their site might work for others).  [I had to go with the large sample of the actual feed to get the right size pellets, so he can't sort the capsule from the pellets.  It works 98% of the time, the rest, I just poke it in his cheek and we are done.]


MT 9/04


Hollowed-out carrots or fig newtons. Both work with my guy except a few times a year when he feels bad and just won't eat anything but alfalfa and grazing grass. During those periods, which may last a week or two, I syringe the meds. He's especially prone to appetite loss when the spring grass comes in, so take him off pasture and keep him up with plenty of grass hay. His appetite soon returns so that I can feed his meds in a treat or in his feed. 

ferne fedeli

>On Fri, May 8, 2015 at 1:15 AM, Lesley Fraser lesley.fraser@...
>I had a similar problem.  After trying various things, which all worked for a bit and were then spat out, the problem >was resolved by using a recipe from this site. 

Glad to hear it wasn't only my little monster that would decide he didn't like the pergolide carrier after a few weeks or months...  Right now he is happy to gobble up the little piece of carrot with his pergolide in a hole in the center followed by 3 ODTB halves, but I printed your recipe out to try whenever he decides that he is "tired" of the carrot, etc.
Ferne Fedeli
No. California