If you have owned your horse or pony for any length of time, then chances are you’ve had to give it some medication. Some powders are easier to disguise than others and can be slipped into your horse’s feed and they’ll chow down ‒ phenylbutazone (bute) and doxycycline (doxy), which can be flavoured with the taste of apple, orange and carrot, are two examples.
You can also make ‘pill pockets’ by carving out a space for the pill inside an apple or carrot. Some pills need to be ground in a coffee grinder or mortar-and-pestle due to their size or the amount needed to be administered, then added to feed or given via syringe with added water.
But for one horse in the U.S., these usual tricks weren’t working, so her owner found an unusual method: the jelly doughnut! Amy Bradford, who owns a 15-year-old Quarter Horse named Zoe, had fed her mare a doughnut as a treat before and knew the horse enjoyed it. Then Zoe got sick, really sick, with Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) and a tick-borne autoimmune disease that affected her eyesight and joints. Vets prescribed 75 immunosuppressant pills per day, as well as a separate eye treatment. The sheer volume of medication was always going to be an issue and Zoe initially flatly refused the normal methods of ingesting the much-needed medicine.
So Bradford got creative and stuffed the yummy jelly doughnut with the pills and Zoe ate it up. According to Bradford, who posted the video below on TikTok, not any doughnut will do. Zoe will only eat a jelly-filled fresh, room temperature treat from Dunkin’ Donuts – other brands were quickly refused.
Unfortunately, Zoe is no longer rideable but that doesn’t deter Bradford’s commitment to her horse, one of four she owns and keeps at her Bradford Stables in Middleboro, Massachusetts. “I will sell everything I own to make sure this horses survives,” Bradford told local media and her vet. She calls Zoe her “heart horse” and speaks of the mare’s great intelligence.
We will say that Zoe is one lucky horse.
Watch the NBC- NECM report here.