Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Horse Pills - Dog Pills

Midge, our incredibly awesome Pembroke Corgi, had emergency surgery this past weekend due to an illness. We are currently giving her pain killers and antibiotics while she recovers. Having cared for a wide range of animals throughout my life, I can tell you that from my experience, it is much easier to administer oral medications to horses than to dogs.

My horses have usually ingested whole pills while eating their grain, or I have been able to dilute the pills into a liquid form and shoot it into their mouth like deworming paste. Occasionally, I have ground pills down to a powder and mixed them in with the grain, if the veterinarian approved that this method was appropriate for the type of medication. I've been fortunate enough to not have a horse that was so sick or in so much pain that it refused grain.

Midge, on the other hand, has been refusing dry dog food, wet dog food, home-cooked people food, and dog treats. Liquids are all she will accept. The technique we've been using to administer her pills involves cutting the pill down to pieces that can be swallowed by a little dog (as opposed to a horse), wrapping each piece in cheese, placing the ball in the back of the mouth at the throat opening, and holding our hands on the sides of her mouth so that she won't spit it out. We are careful not to cover her nose. She tries to roll the pill up to the top of her mouth with her tongue so that she can spit it out, while we rub her chest and throat to encourage her to swallow it. Eventually, when she realizes that the pill has nowhere to go but down her throat, she swallows it, and we give her praise. Of course, the down side is that with smaller pieces of the pills, we have to do this several times. However, I think it is better than making her gag.

She is beginning to show an interest in food now, though not yet eating it. We are seeing small improvements, such as when I handed her a dog biscuit and she took it into her mouth, only to run around the house in search of a place to bury it for later. She settled on the cushion of my chair. If this progression continues, she should be eating by tomorrow, and I should be able to sit down safely.


Mrs Mom said...

Poor Midge! Give her a rub from the Southland here, and tell her to get better soon. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey there. I just discovered your blog a few days ago and have enjoyed reading about you and your horses. Sorry to hear about your dog. One suggestion for making the pills easier to swallow is to coat it with butter. It not only makes the pill tasty, it makes it slippery so it slides down the throat easier. If cheese is OK for her to eat then the butter should be safe, also. I hope this helps!


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Thanks Ann. Butter is great idea. I'll give it a try.

Rising Rainbow said...

Oh, I hope she is better soon. I know about giving pills to dogs too, not fun for either party.