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Sedating side

In general “hot bloods” like Arabians and Thoroughbreds require far more sedation than cold bloods (draft breeds), for the same effect.

Sedatives and tranquilizers mostly act on various nervous system receptors, causing very specific effects on brain and nerve cells.

In my opinion, it is truly is a copout and is an indicator of lack of horsemanship ability. If you ever give these medications yourself, be extremely careful of accidental self-injection. Following sedation of your horse, feed and water should always be withheld for at least 30-60 minutes, to prevent choking.

The specific side effects are different for the different classes of drugs we use.

The drugs most commonly used in equine practice are xylazine, detomidine, romifidine, acepromazine (a tranquilizer) and butorphanol (a narcotic-type pain relieving drug).

These medications are typically given intravenously (IV) but most can also be given IM.

I try to only use sedatives when I need them (for instance I almost never sedate a horse to pass a nasogastric tube).

These are powerful drugs with potentially serious side effects, and they need to be respected and only used by those trained and licensed to do so.

Most of the sedatives cause decreased intestinal function and movement (motility), which can contribute to intestinal obstruction and dysfunction.