Rather than make a paste of the antibiotic (SMZ tablets) and use a needle-free syringe to squeeze it into a not-so-eager mouth, I prefer mixing medications into a bran or grain mash. Should you have to do this - whether feeding pharmaceuticals or supplements - here is my method, with hopes it's useful to you.
Prepare in advance of emergencies. For me, this means keeping the antibiotic on hand so when the vet says, "Give SMZ for ten days," I have a ready supply. I also keep red bran, grain, and either molasses or dark Karo corn syrup available for making a tasty mash that hides the flavor of the medication or supplement.
For older horses, I mix equal portions of red bran and whatever grain they prefer. I use the universal barn measuring device: A one-pound coffee can. For feeding SMZ, I fill a glass jar with a cup or so of fresh water, drop the recommended dose of tablets inside, and let it sit for about ten minutes. It dissolves fairly quickly. For some reason, SMZ doesn't dissolve as nicely if you pour the water onto it rather than dropping it into water. Go figure.
Don't add the molasses or corn syrup to the water / SMZ mix, or you'll be frustrated trying to scrape it out of the jar. Wait until you've poured the water / SMZ solution onto the bran / grain mix, then add the flavoring syrup and stir well. I use a carrot to stir, and then sticky, bran-covered carrot becomes part of the mash.
Other additives your horse may like: Carrot shreds, salt, apple bits, pellets, or horse treats. Not all horses accept carrots, but if your horse likes them, go for it. Shredding them is preferred as they may otherwise steal the carrot and leave the rest, or may dump some of the mash out trying to get the uncut carrot. You know your horse and what his prankster rating is, so feed accordingly.
For young horses, carrots may not yet be an option as they may not have developed a taste for them yet. In Julie's case, she didn't like the red bran, either, and she didn't want to finish the entire mash I made. I separated her from her mother (mom kept busy just outside the stall eating hay) so Mom wouldn't steal the mash. Julie was a reluctant eater, so the second dose, I used nothing but half a can of junior diet pellets, the SMZ solution, and dark corn syrup. I did not give her any hay until she ate her mash - which took about an hour.
Molasses is a more nutritious choice than corn syrup. It's high in potassium, wonderfully viscous, and almost irresistible. Also, you get to lick the spoon. However, some horses (and I'm looking at you, HYPP-positive horses) can't or shouldn't have potassium. Corn syrup is your best option. It's also readily available in many bakers' pantries. I wanted to use up some corn syrup I had on hand, so Julie's mash will be made with Karo for a few days.
If you don't have either molasses or corn syrup around, you can substitute brown sugar or even pancake syrup. Better idea: put molasses on your list now and keep it in the cupboard. You can even buy a handy two-pack here on Amazon (affiliate link): Brer Rabbit Molasses. This is the brand I use. (It's also excellent for those molasses cookies I love.)
If you need to rehydrate a horse or encourage an older horse to eat, try a soupy bran mash. My old girl Holly, Julie's 31-year-old grandmother, loves a sloppy mash of red bran, molasses, senior diet, and carrot shreds. You can add electrolytes if necessary - but realize the potassium in the molasses will give them a boost as well.
|Young Julie finishing off her medicated mash this morning.|
(c) 2018 MJ Miller
Copyright (c) 2018 by MJ Miller * All rights reserved * No part of this content may be reproduced without the express permission of the author * Links, however, may be freely shared and are encouraged. * Thank you for linking, liking, +1ing, Tweeting, sharing, emailing, carrier-pigeoning, and otherwise helping grow my readership * Most of all, thanks for stopping by!