Equine Patient Handling

VTH Policy # PtHand908

Implementation Date: 5/15/2019

Date of Last Revision: 5/15/2019

Next Review Due: 3/2023


Reviewed by VTH Administrative Team: N/A

Reviewed by VTH Board: N/A


Reviewed by Legal Counsel: N/A

Reviewed by Biosecurity Subcommittee: 5/1/2019

Subject to modification by the Biosecurity Subcommittee of the CVM Occupational Health and Safety Committee without approval.


Proper patient handling is required for the safety of the horse as well as the handler and bystanders. 


  1. Equine patients, not in their assigned stall, must be restrained.
  2. The minimal restraint for any horse is a halter and lead rope.

Procedure (if applicable)

Basic Restraint

  1. The minimal restraint for any horse is a halter and lead rope.
  2. The lead rope must not be wrapped around any body part. 

Physical Exams

  1. One person is required to hold the horse while another is performing the examination.
  2. If a staff person or student at any time feels the horse is fractious or feels unsure, they shall stop the exam and contact a house officer.
  3. At no time is it permissible to kneel or sit on the floor while a horse is being examined. 3.3.


  1. Restraint of horses for procedures should be overseen by experienced personnel.
  2. When unsafe conditions are observed, House Officers and Faculty are expected to stop the procedure and instruct the personnel involved on how to perform the task safely. 
  3. Sedation
     a) Sufficient sedation to perform the procedure safely should always be employed. 
     b) Heavily sedated, uncoordinated horses should not be moved. 
     c) Lightly sedated horses may be moved by experienced personnel. 
     d) “Tailing” of heavily sedated horses is not allowed at any time. 3.4.


  1. Only trained and experienced personnel will operate the treadmill. Prior to operation, a brief review of safety procedures will occur. 

Definitions (if applicable)

Restraint: Restraint may include; chemical – sedation or anesthesia, or physical – halter and lead rope, nose twitch, neck twitch, ear twitch, stocks.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH): The collective clinical services of the Large Animal Clinic, Midwest Equine, the Small Animal Clinic, and the Veterinary Medicine South Clinic.

Keywordshandle, handling, proper, horse, handler, bystander, restrain, restraint, halter, rope, sedation, tailing   Doc ID124339
OwnerJenny C.GroupUofI College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created2023-02-24 12:50 CDTUpdated2023-02-24 12:58 CDT
SitesUniversity of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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