A rescue horse who is untrained and fearful but needs medical attention is one of the most difficult situations to deal with. It’s also a situation that can sneak up on you. When a horse is truly sick—for example, a thin horse who also has a severe pneumonia—he is actually much easier to handle. Sadly, he may just not have enough energy to fight. As the horse gets stronger, he can finally act on his fears and the trouble begins.
If the fearful rescue horse truly needs medical care, sedation that is administered orally with grain can help. As a last resort, a veterinarian with sedation from a distance may be needed. If your veterinarian isn’t familiar with these techniques, he or she may be able to consult with one who is used to dealing with exotic animals. This situation is a choice between stressing the animal and possibly causing more injury or harm, versus the odds that the horse will recover with his own immune system and oral medications in feed.