Liquid medicines are commonly given in the form of drenches or draughts, so diluted with water, oil, or gruel as to exercise no baneful influence upon the structures over which they pass to reach the stomach.
Persons accustomed to give medicine in this form often prefer to do so without any assistance or restraint beyond holding the head up by placing the left hand under the chin, but where the patient cannot be controlled by this means he must be subjected to restraint by one of the methods prescribed elsewhere. (See Means of Restraint.)
A horn is a safe and suitable means of administering a drench so far as the patient is concerned, as it may come in contact with his grinders without being broken. The tin bottle with a long neck and flat sides is more easily grasped, but the contents cannot be seen in either of these vessels, and perfect cleanliness is not so well assured as when using glass bottles of the champagne type. These being strong at the shoulder, and conveniently tapered at the neck, are generally preferred, the risk of breaking in the mouth when properly handled being very slight.
Draughts should be given slowly to horses, and if a disposition to cough is observed, the head should be immediately lowered, and, although some of the medicine may be lost it is better than forcing it the "wrong way".
Liquid medicine should never be given with the horse's head towards the manger, as some of it will almost certainly fall into that receptacle and give the patient a distaste for his food.