Syringing meds

Ann Conn

 I have failed with everything I’ve tried for hiding pergolide capsules…not immediately, but eventually. Tried syringing once. It leaked all over everything and then got it in his mouth and he just put his head down and dribbled everything out. I’ve been looking at drenching syringes on Amazon since they’re long and curved, but don’t understand how the liquid stays in while you get it to his pen, put halter on, etc. Then how to keep his head up long enough for him to swallow it.
If someone has successfully navigated this issue, I would very much appreciate any help. Plus, the capsules I get aren’t very easy to take apart.
Thank you
Ann and Azeem
Central Texas

Ann & Azeem
IR/PPID  2016
central Texas

Lorna Cane

Hi Ann,

Were peanuts in shells one of the things you tried ? Sometimes people don't think of them.

Lorna in Eastern Ontario

Maxine McArthur

Ann, have you tried putting the pergolide capsule in an empty gelatine capsule? This hides the taste, and my guys will happily eat the gelatine capsule with a handful of split peas or safe pellets--something with a bit of a crunch. 

Most days, however, I dissolve and syringe. I empty my compounded capsule into a syringe--a small 10ml syringe, with plunger removed. Then I carefully replace the plunger and suck up a tiny amount of water--4-5ml is plenty. Shake and squirt in the corner of the mouth, reward with a safe treat. There's not enough to dribble out. I practiced with plain water first so they associated the syringe with the treat, not with a bad flavour. I dissolve the pergolide before I leave home, so there's less than an hour between dissolving and syringing, but then I don't have to muck around with stuff at the barn. You are right, the hardest part of the routine is carefully emptying the compounded capsules into the syringe! I kind of unscrew them rather than pull the pieces apart. When you remove the plunger, clean and dry it, then rub a bit of oil around the rubber--this increases the longevity of the syringe. 

I don't even halter my guys to do this now--I get there, squirt their stuff in, treat, then they have their dinner. 
Maxine and Indy (PPID) and Dangles (PPID)

Canberra, Australia 2010
ECIR Primary Response



Hi, Ann.
I had all the same problems! Here's my method. I can syringe CP and even Prascend into my crabby Paint mare.  

1. My new favorite syringe is this style: 10 ml / 10 cc / 2 tsp syringe - It has a narrow, short neck so I don't loose much of the dissolved pergolide in the neck.
2. Use a teaspoon of a tasty liquid carrier. My best results are with a teaspoon of watery carrot purée/carrot baby food. Before even starting with pergolide, practice syringing carrot purée a couple of times. It's popular here.
3. Balance a tablespoon measuring spoon inside a small measure so it doesn't tip. Put a teaspoon of carrot purée in the tablespoon.
4. Don't bother trying to pull capsules apart. Instead, use really sharp scissors or, best for me, sharp cuticle nippers, to carefully cut off the very top of the capsule. I tap the capsule on the counter first to tap the powder out of the end of the capsule.
 5. Pour the CP out of the capsule onto the purée in the tablespoon. No need to mix. Draw the  purée and CP out of the tablespoon with the syringe. Add a bit of water to rinse down the sides of the tablespoon and draw that into the syringe.
5. Stand up your syringe, neck up so it doesn't spill, in a small cup while you halter your horse. I don't need a halter any more, but I did at the beginning.
5. When your syringe, slide the syringe into the corner horse's mouth where there are no teeth -- right where you open the mouth before sliding in the bit. Push it in far enough to reach the tongue. Depress the plunger slowly enough that you don't flood the horse's mouth, and the horse has time to swallow. 
6. The first time or two, it never hurts to follow up with a small treat.

If you're working with Prascend tablets, take the syringe apart. Cut the tablets in half and place in the barrel of the syringe. Replace the plunger and draw less than a teaspoon warm, NOT hot, water into the syringe. Shake well until the tablets dissolve. Draw carrot purée into the syringe. 
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
Cayuse and Diamond Case History Folder                
Cayuse Photos                Diamond Photos

Sherry Morse

Hi Ann,

You've already gotten some great answers but will add that the short answer for "how the liquid stays in" is partially down to making sure you keep the syringe tipped up but also due to physics. If you put the pill(s) in and draw liquid into the syringe the vacuum effect will keep the water in.
Since I usually do mine the opposite way (pills in, then add water but not enough to fill the syringe, then add plunger and shake up) I will pull back a bit to get some air in but keep the tip up as well just to be safe. 

Kirsten Rasmussen

To add to Sherry's advice, you can buy disposable syringes with removable tips.  I found a pack of 50, 5cc syringes with tips on Amazon.  The syringes get many many uses before they break, so a pack of 50 should last me 2 years.  I use no sugar added baby food that come with a tube top that fits into the syringe, so I can squirt a bit in, tap the syringe until it slides down (the tip stops it from spilling), add pergolide, then top with a bit more baby food.  Don't syringe when they have food in their mouth, it's too easy for them to spit food and meds out.  Like Maxine said, small amounts are harder to spit out...

I call it Shaku's "special treat" and he is pretty good and lets me do it without any fuss (no halter needed), although I get a dirty look from him each time.  

Kirsten and Shaku (IR + PPID) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
Shaku's Case History
Shaku's Photo Album

Deb Walker

Ann - From syringing to trying to "hide" you nothing ever worked for very long, and Scotty decided NO treat was safe to take from me, because I might be hiding something in it (rolling eyes here.) Because he has no back teeth, I was able to hold his nose down and shove the capsule in sideways, clamping his mouth shut until he swallowed. But he got pretty good at holding it in his mouth and spitting it out when I walked away.

So, the only solution that requires no work and no trauma for animal and human is to put the pill inside a very tiny TINY piece of apple and my husband hand feeds it when he goes to the barn in the morning, and Scotty is waiting for his "treat." Problem solved.
Deb and Scotty I/R, PPID
Pecatonica Illinois, May 13, 2019
Case History:

Trisha DePietro

Hi Ann. If you leave some air at the top of your drawn syringe, the liquid should stay in place. I insert the syringe into the interdental space and if there is any remaining hay stuck there, Dolly spits it out and then I know her mouth is relatively free of old chewed hay. Then I admiinister the dose very give her time to swallow. I don't have to halter her anymore, she is fine with the rope over her neck. But I do include a good belly rub at the end, so that there is something pleasant in it for her....Sometimes I do the belly rub, Prascend, then belly rub again and she is totally happy....:) Or Whatever your horses itchy spots are...incorporate that into your balances out the unpleasant part. :) 
Trisha DePietro
Aug 2018
Dolly and Hope's Case Histories
Dolly's Photos 
Hope's Photos 
Primary Responder

Cindy Giovanetti

I also gave up hiding pergolide in treats.    I use this syringe:


It’s long and slim and easy to slip between his lips.


I use babyfood (pea or carrot) as a carrier because they can’t dribble it out of their mouth as easily as water or juice.  Then I suck up a bit of water, shake the syringe, and syringe that into his mouth too.  (This part is difficult, but I fear him not getting all his medicine.)


Knowing he’s going to get medicine, he won’t let me halter him, but if I can get a cotton string around his nose, I can control his head enough to get the syringe between his lips.


I always follow up the syringe with a good back scratch.  (He doesn’t want a treat with the bad taste in his mouth.)


It is going pretty well.




Cindy, Oden, and Eeyore, North Texas
On ECIR protocol since 2/19