The horses were due for their annual shots and health check this month, and we got that done on Friday. I always dread this day because two of my horses have needle phobia, and they also happen to be mother and daughter, which makes me wonder if there is some kind of weird genetic mutation that makes these two so phobic. Because they are so bad with shots, we have to be very careful in our vet selection. We’ve tried various vets whose demeanor just didn’t mesh with these two. They won’t tolerate a vet who just walks up and sticks them. We had a vet who was very sugary, lovey dovey with them, saying “good girl, good baby, that’s a girl, want a treat,” etc., over and over nonstop and they would have nothing to do with her. They like a vet who is calm, quiet, patient and firm, and we found that in Dr. Dunlap. Those two have been very good with him… until this year. As he walked up to Cosmo I saw her eyeball him, pin her ears and give him the stink eye. He reached out to stroke her neck and she tried to bite. He remained very calm and patient with her, but she just wasn’t having it. She reared and tried to strike out at him several times, at which point he decided to try an oral sedative on her. I didn’t know they made such a thing, but thank goodness for it. After about 40 minutes it kicked in just enough that he could give her another IV sedative. When she was completely knocked out she got her shots, teeth floated (pictured above) and a wolf tooth extracted.
It’s embarrassing to have a horse behave so badly for the vet. We raised her from a foal and I know she never had a bad vet experience, which is why I think it may be somewhat hereditary as her mother is the same way, although she has never tried to bite or strike a vet. We tried to desensitize her mother to needles awhile back but really made no headway with her. So now we are back to researching ways to desensitize a horse to needles. Biting and striking is very aggressive behavior in a horse and cannot be tolerated, so this needs to be fixed ASAP.