Calming Agents for Horses
Nov 10, 2011
I am considering purchasing a calming agent for my gelding and would like your opinion of these in general and whether a daily product or a single use product would be best. Thanks, Jo
B1, or thiamine has been used to calm horses for years. It is made in injectable and oral forms. The oral form seems to be the most popular. It works better in some horses than in others. It is generally used to take the edge off of show horses.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used as a calming agent and is the main ingredient in several of the commercial pastes used as calming agents. These also seem to work better on some horses than others. These products seem to work best on horses that don't need much edge taken off.
If your horse won't stand for the farrier or for clipping, or is truly dangerous in some situations, a prescription product from your veterinarian may be in order. Acepromazine, xylazine, and detomidine are strong tranquilizers or sedatives that will work on fractious horses for a few hours at a time. Some of these may be administered orally. Dormosedan gel is made specifically for oral administration and comes in an oral syringe with dosage rates indicated, making this product easy for owners to use without a veterinarian present.
There are some compounded products referred to as thirty day tranquilizers. These products have been associated with side effects that may include profuse watery diarrhea for a few days.
If you plan to compete in horse shows, make sure to know your association's rules and withdrawal requirements before administration. Most sedatives and tranquilizers are restricted and will show up in drug testing.
Ron Conley, DVM