How to Give a Horse Mineral Oil


Horses often suffer from stomach upset or colic. A common cause of this upset is an impaction or constipation. Mineral oil can be used to help move things along and through the horse’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. To get an effective amount of mineral oil into the horse you need to place a tube into its stomach. This is most commonly done by a veterinarian, but a seasoned horse person can learn to do it with some supervision. Tubing with mineral oil can quickly alleviate mild colic and is an indispensable tool.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 buckets
  • 1 gallon mineral oil
  • Water
  • Nasal gastric tube
  • Pump
  • Assistant
  • Twitch restraint (optional)

Pour the mineral oil into a bucket, fill another bucket half full with water and leave the last bucket empty. Place the pump into the bucket of water. Dip the end of the nasal gastric tube into the water to lubricate it. Drape the tube over your shoulders to free up your hands.

Have your assistant restrain the horse. This might be as simple as holding a hand over the horse's nose and holding onto its lead rope, or the horse might require a twitch on its nose. The person helping you should be experienced with horses because horses do not enjoy being tubed and can become dangerous.

Face the horse’s head. Place the thumb of your left hand into the horse's left nostril holding it open. Insert the moist end of the tube up its nose until you feel some resistance, this means you are at his epiglottis. When you feel him swallow, continue to push the tube down his throat. You should feel some resistance as you pass the tube, this means your in its esophagus. If the tube passes easily you are in his airway, pull back and try again. When you reach the stomach you will smell a slightly rancid, grassy smell, this means you can stop. If you have never done this before have a veterinarian show you what to do, do not attempt on your own.

Connect the tube to the pump and pump in five to six pumps of water. Disconnect the tube from the pump and allow the liquid to drain into the empty bucket. If large amounts of fluid come out of the horses stomach do not pump any oil in as it means the horse has a blockage in his GI tract. If nothing comes back it is safe to continue.

Connect the tube to the pump and pump all the mineral oil into the horse’s stomach. Follow the mineral oil with a few pumps of water so there is water in the tube when you pull it out.

Kink the tube and in one slow, continuous motion pull the tube out of the horse's nose. If you don’t kink the tube some of the water might go into the horse’s lungs when you pull it out, which can cause health issues.

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  • Equine Internal Medicine, Stephen Reed, Saunders, 2003
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