What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Overdose or Wrong Medication Given, Generally


You accidentally administered an excessive amount of a prescribed medication, or the wrong medication to your horse. The consequences of the mistake will depend on the medication and many factors related to the horse.

In my experience, the most commonly overdosed or incorrectly dosed medication is phenylbutazone (see related Observation).

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

your role


What To Do

Call your vet first (and immediately) for specific instructions. Depending on the medication or dosage given, this may or may not be serious. They may ask you to try to wash the mouth out or wipe any excess medication away.

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to rectal temperature, heart and respiratory rates. Offer feed and water as recommended by your vet. Watch for adverse reactions related to the particular medication, and be careful when handling your horse. Your vet will tell you what to look for.

What Not To Do

Do not wait to see whether a problem arises, immediate assessment and treatment by your vet may be critical.

your vet's role

Treatment and prognosis depends on the medication and dose given. If able to treat promptly, a vet might try to remove some of the medication with passage of a stomach tube and stomach flushing. They may be able to give other medications to decrease absorption of a medication from the intestine, or give an antidote.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What medication was given?
  • What medication and how much medication was given?
  • What other medications is the horse being given?
  • When was the medication given?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP