Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Equine Emergencies

 When you own horses, eventually you may come across some sort of an equine emergency, whether that be colic or a wound of some kind. To keep your equine partner as safe as possible, you must prepare for an emergency so you can act quickly and affectively. The American Association of Equine Practioners recommends doing the following:

  1. Write down your veterinarian's office number and a number you can use to contact him after hours, placing it in an easily found place, such as on the inside of you first aid kit's lid, as well as in the contacts section of your cell. Don't rely on memory. Even if you have memorized, recalling something when panicked or in an emergency can be difficult.
  2. Also write down the numbers of several other vets you can call in case yours is busy or out of town. Your vet may refer someone to you if you ask.
  3. Another important thing to do is to memorize your way to the equine surgery center in case your horse needs to be transported. Finding last-minute directions can waste precious time.
  4. Write down the numbers of a couple nearby friends and and neighbors, who can assist you while you wait for the vet.
  5. Keep a fully equipped first aid kit on hand. It should include gauze, scissors, a thernometer, a stethoscope, antibacterial scrub, and wound spray. For a more complete list, check out my first aid post.
Equine veternarians. credit
 In the case of an emergency, gather as much information as possible before calling the vet. If your horse is injured, tell him where the injury is, how much swelling there is, and how severe the injury looks. If your horse is lame, let him know when you noticed the lamness and if your horse can put weight on the hoof. Also observe your horse's demeanor. Is he agitated, depressed, gloomy? These signs can give you lot a lot of information, particularly if your horse's ailment is not visible, such as colic or an illness. His vital signs also have a lot tell, so if they are higher or lower than usually, you should definitely call the vet. Other signs on when to call the vet are profuse bleeding, wounds that need stitches, eye injuries, fractures, sudden lameness, seizures, watery diarrhea, colic, and choking. Most importantly, if in doubt, call the vet. Never neglect to call if you are not sure how serious the injury/emergency is.

 While waiting for the vet to arrive, do your best to treat the injury. If the horse is bleeding, hold sterile padding or a towel to the wound, and do not remove it, not even to see if the bleeding has stopped, unless the vet instructs you to. Add another layer when the first becomes soaked with blood and continue to place steady pressure on it. If your horse colics, remember to stay calm and do not let him lay down and roll, which can aggravate the colic. 

 Preparation can prevent many equine emergencies. Remove potentially hazardous items from the barn and pasture, and try to memorize a set emergency plan. Write it down in case you are not on hand when the emergency occurs so some else knows what to do and who to call.

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