Medications for Horses


Medication that helps keep your horse happy and healthy.

TiLDREN and OSPHOS provide effective parasite protection with easy administration via a tube or paste form at 1.87% ivermectin content. Find the best Horse meds.

Pergolide is the mainstay treatment for Cushing’s disease/PPID; however, under Federation Equestrian International (FEI) rules it must be removed before competition or reported via the Medication Report Form.

Medications in Feed

Horses on medication can sometimes be selective eaters. One effective strategy to get them to eat their meals is hiding their medication in their feed – wetting down their feed before applying powdered medicine or injecting it with a syringe is an easy way of accomplishing this goal.

A syringe fitted with a clean worm paste tube is an effective tool to administer liquid medications to horses directly in their mouths. This approach may be particularly useful when treating horses with reduced appetites due to lameness, tooth issues, or other medical conditions preventing them from eating hay or pelleted feed. For horses experiencing difficulties eating their meals due to lameness or other reasons, direct administration through the mouth may prove more efficient than giving a dose in water.

Some horses cannot tolerate the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are typically prescribed to treat chronic pain and require additional medication to manage their discomfort. Acetaminophen may be useful in helping them cope with discomfort; other options could include mixing it with an NSAID such as tetracycline, cyclosporine, or methocarbamol.

The FDA has granted two bisphosphonates approved by USEF for use in horses: Tildren(r) (tildronate disodium) and Osphos(r) (clodronate disodium). Both drugs inhibit bone resorption to lower the risk of navicular disease in horses. USEF permits their use provided GR411 regulations are adhered to and that horses receiving treatment are at least 4 years old.

Furosemide (Lasix(r), a diuretic medication, is another commonly prescribed for equine athletes to help produce urine samples for drug testing purposes and can be given either before or following blood collection.

Some horses experience weight loss due to Equine Metabolic Syndrome, or EMS, which involves insulin dysregulation and increased fat deposition. A high-carbohydrate diet often makes symptoms worse for older horses suffering from this condition; several tests exist to help determine its cause including a combined glucose/insulin tolerance test as well as plasma ACTH concentration or thyroid-releasing hormone response tests.

Medications in Water

Medication that dissolves in water can be easily administered to horses. Simply place it in a syringe and inject it into their mouth or nose. Hard pills may also be broken up and mixed with liquid to make swallowing easier for horses – this method provides an efficient means of administering a medication that would otherwise be difficult or dangerous to give to them through their feed or skin application.


Different antibiotics can be used to treat disease in horses. This includes tetracyclines (like erythromycin) and macrolides, like azithromycin or clarithromycin; cephalosporins like Naxcel; as well as cephalosporins such as Naxcel. Antibiotics should only be prescribed under veterinary advice and can lead to serious gastrointestinal side effects in some horses such as colitis and diarrhea due to an overgrowth of pathogenic intestinal bacteria or disruption of normal bacterial fermentation processes which disturb the balance between good and bad organisms in their gut. As such, only the use of antibiotics should occur under veterinary advice.

Albuterol is an asthma and inflammatory airway disease medication commonly prescribed to humans and horses alike, available in metered-dose inhalers as well as tablets. Thomas notes that the human risk from handling tablets is very low as only small amounts are absorbed through the skin; however, people should avoid inhaling it due to potential wheezing reactions and heart rate increases; those with coronary artery disease or a prior history of heart attack should avoid taking this medicine.

Furosemide, a diuretic medication commonly used by the racing industry to manage exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage and bleeding, works by increasing pulmonary capillary transmural pressure in lung blood vessels to decrease clotting activity within cells of those vessels and decrease fluid retention by kidneys.

This NSAID inhibits prostaglandin synthesis to reduce pain and inflammation, but may also damage the stomach and colon lining and dilate kidney blood vessels, increasing the risk of ulcers and renal failure. As with all NSAIDs intended for use by horses, care must be taken when administering them orally or intravenously during pregnancy as this could induce labor or abortion.

Medications in a Dosing Syringe

Equine anatomy and physiology differ significantly from that of humans, though many human drugs that work can often be safely adapted for use on horses. Unfortunately, however, despite this commonality there can still be numerous issues stemming from differences in dosage forms; by employing novel drug delivery systems that take into account equine anatomy and physiology these issues can be overcome.

Dexamethasone, a popular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), may cause diarrhea and colitis in some horses as well as hyperthermia, but these effects can be reduced by giving dexamethasone orally rather than intravenously and using short-duration treatments.

Additionally, tramadol (an anti-neuropathic pain medication) may produce adverse gastrointestinal side effects in some horses; this can be reduced by giving low doses orally and not competing shortly after administering the drug.

Before dosing medications through a dosing syringe, they must be adequately dispersed. Wetting the medication or giving the mixture several shakes before administration will ensure this. When administering, ensure your horse has its halter on and is sitting in a position that allows him/her to chew and swallow safely while being cautious not to spill excess medication out of its mouth.

Furosemide (Lasix(r)), administered under veterinary supervision, helps collect urine for drug testing at shows without waiting the standard 24 hours to gather samples for analysis. By having it ready-made on-site, trainers have an immediate urine sample ready for testing without delay.

Other medications administered under veterinarian oversight may include the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone and analgesics acepromazine, meloxicam, and tramadol; all three can be given either in pill form or liquid suspension depending on your horse’s needs. Exhibitors, owners, and trainers must be familiar with any associated side effects as well as potential interactions that can arise due to medications used.

Medications in a Pill Pocket

At tack and feed stores, various pill pockets and pouches for horses can be purchased. An owner may also create their own pill pockets from familiar treats like pieces of carrot, apple, banana, or soft horse cookies that their horse enjoys eating – this method works particularly well when administering medications that require first-pass metabolism (e.g. pergolide tablets used to treat Cushing’s disease).

Oral medication administration using a syringe can also be effective, though this method may prove difficult for horses that are sensitive to sugar.

Every time a horse receives oral medications it must be reported to the Federation on an official Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form which can be found online. Failing to file an accurate Medication Report Form violates its rules while any unreported use violates Federation Rule GR411.1(b). If in doubt as to the legality of an action plan for your horse consult with their veterinarian.