Handler rasps horse's teeth, while brace holds horse's mouth open: image via hedgroup.comHandler rasps horse's teeth, while brace holds horse's mouth open: image via hedgroup.comHorse owners have the responsibility for keeping their horses safe and in good, healthy condition all their lives, by practicing what's called good horse husbandry.  Sometimes, though, horses would rather not be involved in this process, and that can make them jittery, to put it mildly.  But a new sedating gel, to be used only for standing procedures, is now available, enabling both owner and horse to achieve what's really best for the horse.

Dormosedan Gel®, manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health, is available only by your veterinarian's prescription; but it is for the owner's or handler's administration before routine activities like shoeing,  sheath cleaning, clipping hair, trimming feet, and manual teeth rasping.  It is administered through a pre-measured syringe under the horses tongue.

Dormosedan Gel is administered under the horse's tongue: image via dailymed.nim.nih.govDormosedan Gel is administered under the horse's tongue: image via dailymed.nim.nih.gov

The main ingredient in Dormosedan Gel is detomidine hydrochloride, and it mainly acts to suppress norepinephrine, the stress hormone that sets off the fight-or-flight response.  The product was tested by Gary W. White, DVM of Sallisaw Equine Clinic in Oklahoma and his colleagues.

The test group consisted of 129 horses and the control group, which were given placebos, included an additional 42 horses.  The horses were then subject to standing procedures, including those mentioned above, and Dr. White and his colleagues, presenting to the American Association of Equine Practitioners in December of 2010 concluded that the "gel is safe and effective for horses requiring sedation for routine procedures."

The key findings, as quoted from Stacey Oke, DVM, reporter for TheHorse.com, were:

  • Handlers were able to complete 76% of the procedures successfully in the
    treatment group;
  • They were successful in completing only 7% of the procedures were in the
    placebo-treated horses; and
  • The researchers did not note any significant side effects following
    administration of the detomidine gel.

Dormosedan Gel by Pfizer Animal HealthDormosedan Gel by Pfizer Animal HealthThere are, however, certain contraindications to the administration of Dormosedan Gel.  It is not to be administered to pregnant mares, horses younger than one year, and horses who have any history of heart, kidney, or liver disease.  Also, they must not be in "conditions of shock, severe debilitation or stress due to extreme heat,
cold, fatigue or high altitude."

There are also very specific requirements for administering the gel sedative.  Horses must be relaxed and calm before the gel is administered, food and water must be removed from the horse's location, the horse must be calm, 40 minutes must elapse before administering the husbandry procedure, and the horse must be kept calm without food and water for four hours after the procedure. 

There is no pain medication in Dormosedan Gel!  A Dormosedan Gel video gives a thorough overview of the administration on its website.

sources:  Dormosedan Gel, TheHorse.com, DailyMed

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