Used 3 cc of xylazine IM for my 1300 lb gelding today. He's on stall rest (plus a tiny runout during day) and was exploding under saddle when I started adding in trotting. He's also on oral resperine which served us well until it was time to trot. Thursday was the final straw when he reared and flipped over on me.
Just wondering what dose other people use of xylazine? The 3cc worked well to prevent the explosions, but I remember when I used Ace a few years ago for his first round of stall rest, I kept having to increase the dose. If the 3cc of xylazine stops working for him, I'll ask my vet what to increase it to, but just wanted to see what the typical dose is that others are using for crazy stall rest horses.
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11
Couldn't help you with a xylazine dose as I consider that drug really, really scary and have no interest in even having it around. I have had good luck with oral acepromazine powder and dormosedan oral gel, although the latter also has to be handled with great caution. Ace can certainly cause tolerance to develop, but of all the options I consider it the safest of the bunch.
Well, Xylazine is a quick acting tranq but also wears off quickly. I like using a mix of Xylazine/Ace (so you get the quick action of the xylazine but the Ace prolongs the tranq) so if you are doing undersaddle work, I would mix the two. I personally prefer doing IV as it works quicker.
A doped horse under saddle? That's really dangerous. I have xylazine but for medical purposes only and for farrier use.
I once boarded at a barn where ace was used by the BO for everything. Including for horses jumping in shows. And some of the people doing that are on this board. Extremely dangerous to the horse and the rider. BO once tried to dope Cloudy before a show without my permission, but he was needle phobic and resisted. Kids at barn snitched on the BO to me. I told her never to dope him. She didn't even try to dope my hot ottb mare Callie. The kids at that barn would actually say they would do well at shows when BO doped their horses.
Using drugs like ace and xylazine for training is crazy. I've seen some doped horses jumping in shows and they could barely make it over jumps. If you don't like hot horses, buy one which is not hot.
Meanwhile, ask the vet from whom you got your drugs how much to give a horse, and in what combination, and ask that vet to tell you what happens if that horse goes down while being trained or ridden.
Practically speaking, yes, if you are rehabbing a horse from stall rest, and their behavior is bad enough to hurt you, or themselves, you need to do SOMETHING to make sure you are not killed.
The best protocol I know of is using a treadmill. Horses have to travel straight. And most horses only try one time to 'act up,' and they learn quick that it does not work to act up on the treadmill.
Unfortunately, most of us do not have access to one.
As far as tranquilizers, horses metabolize them very, very differently. I have know horses who burn through drugs with astonishing speed. And other horses who practically fall down with very little. If you are mounted when the drugs wear off and the horse suddenly wakes up, you could easily be in a very bad situation. Worse, perhaps, than if the horse were never drugged.
Personally, I simply do not rehab horses under saddle. They can go on the longe/slowly increased turnout. I can replace the horse but I cannot replace me. Sorry, but I've seen my share of folks get busted up riding horses that have been stall bound for a while, and it just ain't worth the risk to me.
In your situation, perhaps you could arrange to have the vet present while you ride. Together you can work out a dosage of drugs that makes you comfortable enough to ride.
Edited: Perhaps ear plugs and/or blinders could help you out also. If horse reacts to sounds or exciting sights like cats trotting along the rail.
Last edited by Isabeau Z Solace; Jan. 5, 2013 at 04:38 PM.
Reason: additional suggestions
Deltawave - Can you clarify what about the xylazine is cause for concern as opposed to other sedatives? I know none are without risk.
CloudyandCallie - Absolutely not using sedatives under normal riding circumstances, but for rehab. My horse is on month 3 of stall rest (plus a run out about the size of his stall now) and we just started adding in 2 mins of trotting in addition to the 30 mins of walking. I spent the last two weeks unable to progress in his rehab because he would explode into a bucking/rearing fit at the slightest thing. Thursday he flipped over backwards with me on him and my leg was pinned underneath him. Thankfully we both came out ok for the most part, but for the sake of him not re-fracturing his navicular bones that we are rehabbing and for my own safety, the benefits of sedating him outweigh the risks in my mind. 4 years ago he was on stall rest for a torn suspensory and broke my hand during that rehab process at about this same point in the rehab process. Funny enough he is the most stoic horse in normal circumstances, but doesn't handle stall rest well.
My vet advised me to use 3 cc of the xylazine and we would go from there. I was just curious what dose other people use to see if 3cc is about average or considered high or low. Honestly I think I am asking because I was really freaked out after the flip and want to make sure this is a hefty enough dose. I remember when I used Ace, I found out via COTH that the dose I was using was quite low. He didn't seem very "doped" up as I thought he was supposed to be on the xylazine, just seemed like his normal self while not on stall rest, and didn't rear today.
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11
If you prick yourself with a needle that has xylazine on it because you just drew it up from the bottle you can go into respiratory arrest within seconds. Inject some by accident and you are dead unless someone is there to breathe for you.
No, it's not. I've never had good luck with giving tranq IM. Had one several years ago in FL who would NOT stand for body clipping, but was also needle phobic for IVs. Gave him 12cc Xylazine IM (the dosage instructions, I believe, are up to 2cc/100lbs). Waited for an hour and it didn't so much as take the edge off. Our dentist was there at the time and was an absolute ninja with IV needles and managed to get a couple CCs in him IV and all was well. I was stunned at the lack of effect to IM.
Typically, we use between 1-2 CCs IV depending on level of sedation and depending on if horse is a "cheap date".
Yes, Xylazine can be dangerous if you get it in your system, just have to be a bit more careful. I didn't know jack about the effects on humans until probably two years ago, and I've been giving various IVs for 10 yrs or so. Would have been nice to know.
The full dose of dormosedan gel would probably give you a horse too sedated to ride. But 1/3 of the dose works quite nicely.
Xylazine can cause such profound hypotension if accidentally injected or theoretically even absorbed trans-mucosally that it could put the human in danger. I do feel like I could use it and any other drug reasonably safely as I spend a good part of my time with large needles and syringes in hand. But I still wouldn't care to handle this drug or have it on my property without a DIRE necessity. And tranquilizing horses doesn't fall into that category. This is a matter of personal risk/benefit calculation. I know lots of people use it with no concerns; bully for them.
I also don't like to give IV injections to horses without a very, very compelling need, again this is MY preference even though I'm pretty handy with needles and not afraid of large blood vessels in general. If there are any oral options I'm going to prefer those, then IM, then IV as a last resort.
I have been through the stall rest/rehab/hand-walking thing too many times to sit on any sort of high horse and say that "riding a tranquilized horse is unsafe". Riding a PROPERLY and CAREFULLY tranquilized horse in a RESPONSIBLE manner is way better than riding (or leading) one with a death wish who is NOT. Most of us are not "training" horses in these circumstances but simply walking and trotting a little. But my mantra is "safest and smallest dose first, save the Big Uglies for when ALL the easier/safer options are exhausted".
No, it's not. I've never had good luck with giving tranq IM. Had one several years ago in FL who would NOT stand for body clipping, but was also needle phobic for IVs. Gave him 12cc Xylazine IM (the dosage instructions, I believe, are up to 2cc/100lbs).
labelled dosage for IM administration is 1 mg/pound BW, which works out to 1 ml/100 lbs, if you're using the 100 mg/ml concentration.
"It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay
I won't offer dosage advice for xylazine. I have ridden horses that were given a small amount of ace and it was not dangerous nor a problem. The key is it was done with my knowledge and consent, the amount was small and we weren't dealing with an unsuitable horse- just a case of nerves for the horse and the recreational activity we were doing.
OP- is your horse being given any grain?? If so, IMO you need to get stop all grain and give him free choice hay during this rehab time. Can you turn your horse out in a little larger paddock or indoor arena?
Since xylazine and detomidine are both in a class of drug called alpha2-agonists there is virtually NO difference clinically between them as far as side effects (while there are differences, they are small and generally pretty academic). So to say one is dangerous, while the other is better isn't really true.
Both of them can cause bradycardia, respiratory depression and death in humans. A colleague of mine accidentally injected herself with xylazine instead of lidocaine (can't remember WHY she was injecting the lidocaine into herself - might have had a laceration that someone was going to suture) and she ended up on a ventilator for 3 days.
The IM dose of xylazine that I use as sedation before general anesthesia in the "average" 1000 lb horse is 10 mL (of the 100 mg/mL solution). Generally speaking the IM dose will be double the equivalent IV dose (and the PO dose will be double the IM dose). 3 mLs IM is a pretty mild dose IMO.
Having said that, ace is generally a better choice for sedation prior to riding (and I am not advocating sedatives be given routinely before riding, but they have their place in rehab). Acepromazine doesn't generally cause the ataxia or the degree of sedation that alpha2 agonists do, and so it's a little safer in that situation since the horse won't get wobbly.
I wouldn't want inectable dormosedan around my place, either. The fact that it comes in an oral formulation is the ONLY reason I'd consider using it, and the level of caution is not less because it's "easy" but I do feel that an accident is less likely to happen. Again, only one person's preference.