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10 Facts About Twitches

What is the purpose of using a twitch? Veterinarians, Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) and equine handlers use twitches often to aid in restraint and distraction during undesirable procedures. How does applying one help a horse stay still/calm when being handled by an owner or veterinarian? When the twitch is applied correctly to the horse’s upper lip, there is a short-term release of endorphins from the horse’s brain. This appears to be related to the stimulation of an acupuncture point for shock/respiratory centres on the horse’s muzzle – the mid-point, where the twitch is applied. The endorphins help keep the horse calm throughout the procedure. It is also another aid for the handler to have control of the horse. Under what circumstances should/can they be used? Twitches should be used for procedures that horses typically don’t like and cannot be sedated for. Many times, these procedures are done by a veterinarian…

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