Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ritalin Use in Equines

We are all familiar with this "wonder" drug for the apparent ADHD issue that everyone claims to have kids diagnosed with these days. I worked in MH and I know the bad of Ritalin, atleast in kids, such as changing the chemistry of the brain , permanently. But horses????

You can imagine my surprise when my vet suggested Ritalin to help keep JB as calm and relaxed as possible for his recovery. I had never heard of it's use with horses. Apparently, it's widely used in the show world and the racing industry. My vet assured me that is was safe for short term use and since I know how JB can get a bit nervous and worked up , I agreed; atleast for the first couple of weeks, but I have some trepidation about it.

I tried to see what I could find out about it on line , but there really isn't much.
My eventual plan is to switch to something like the SmartPak product Smart Calm Ultra .

In the meantime, does anyone have any experience using Ritalin in horses? Side effects? Things to be careful of?

Looking forward to hear any info anyone might have on this subject.


Anonymous said...

Watch him carefully it can actually work in adverse ways so there is a possibility it will make him nuts. They don't use it here at all but Robert had experience with it in Saddlebred barns back East but no one at the clinic he worked at in Virgina or here uses it. Ask your vet about fluphenazine, which is what they use for long-term stall rest, if necessary. He might surprise you and be just fine! Right? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign my last post. ~ Amanda ;-)

Jonna of Acer Farm said...

Thanks Amanda- I stand corrected. My vet said Ritalin but what he meant was Reserpine. It sounds like that comes with it's fair share of side effects as well but I plan to only use it as needed. Looking into the Smart Calm product with Tryptophan...(SmartPak sells it) Ever used it?

Anonymous said...

Ahhh Reserpine much better ;-) I have had REALLY good luck with some of the SmartPak supplements- Smart Digest Ultra and Smart Gut for when I brought home an ulcery horse. The stuff that REALLY works is the Performance Focus stuff, it completely stopped Eddy's pacing at rides. http://www.performanceequineusa.com/focusequine-1-1-1.aspx

If he's handling the stall rest ok the good doc over here says try and prolong it without meds for as long as possible. Better to put him on the stuff later if needed than right now if not completely necessary.

Good luck!!!!!

Jonna of Acer Farm said...

Thanks for the additional info. I definitely am going to try to go without the resperine as much as possible but I can see that this morning, when he was doing his best interpretation of a reined cow horse in a spin, and an added buck for extra points, that his initial dose given IV 5 days ago has all worn off... I am concerned about ulcers developing with Resperine and the bute therapy he's on but I am trying to time it with beet pulp to keep food in his gut and minimize that as much as possible.

Have you used the smart calm ultra with the resperine ever?? I am concerned about adverse reactions.

Anonymous said...

We don't use Reserpine at all (use Fluphenazine) so I have no idea what would happen mixing it with the calming supplements. With all the stress and meds you might want to consider something to prevent or help with ulcers, because that is a real risk. Hang in there, I hope this goes by quickly!