When You Have An Emergency
If you own horses long enough, you are bound to confront a medical emergency at some point in your equine’s life.
The most important part of being prepared for an emergency is having a plan before it happens. Have your veterinarians number by your phone and have transportation plan for your horse in place before it is an emergency.
KNOW YOUR HORSE’S VITAL SIGNS
Pulse: 30 – 42 beats per min (bpm) for an adult and 60-100 bpm for a foal. This can be taken with a stethoscope behind the left elbow or can be palpated as the artery runs under the jaw bone.
Respiratory Rate: 12-20 Breaths per minute for an adult and 25-60 BPM for a foal
Rectal Temperature: 99.5-101.5 degrees F for an adult and 99.5 – 102 degrees F for a foal.
Capillary Refill Time (CRT): Press on your horses gums and hold down until white. Remove your finger and count the time in seconds until the color returns. It should be less than or equal to three seconds. Note the gum color.
In addition to observing the vital parameters, also note the amount and consistency of manure and urine Watch for signs of distress, pain, lethargy, depression, or going off feed. Note the presence or absence of gut sounds. Look for evidence of lameness (Head bobbing, reluctance to move, unwillingness to stand) and bleeding or swelling.
Evaluate the wound and call your veterinarian if there is excessive bleeding, the wound is near a joint, if there are underlying structures visible, a puncture is present or if the wound is contaminated. Consult your veterinarian prior to cleaning the wound.
Apply pressure over the wound with a clean cloth and hold in place with a wrap. Leave in place until the vet arrives.
Check Tetanus Vaccine history.
If mild to moderate pain and it is safe, attain vitals and then call your vet. If in severe pain call your vet immediately walk horse in an open area with a soft footing. Remove all feed and watch for manure or passing gas.
If your horse has a swollen eyelid, excessive tearing, squinting or a cloudy eye, call your veterinarian immediately. Cold compress if swollen, and remove from sunlight.
Do not move the horse. Look for heat/swelling in the leg. Clean out the foot and look
for nails or other foreign bodies. (DO NOT REMOVE NAILS UNTIL THE VET
EQUINE FIRST AID KIT SHOULD INCLUDE
Surgical scrub(Povidone Iodine or Chlorohexadine) and antiseptic solution
Water soluble antibacterial ointment
Fence pliers or Nail pullers
Adhesive tape (Elasticon)
It is very important that if you choose to have the following medications in your emergency kit, that you call your veterinarian PRIOR to administration.
- Phenylbutazone Paste or Powder/Tablets (Bute)
- Flunixin Meglamine (Banamine)
- Paste Gas X(Simethacone) tablets or Gel caps or paste
- Neopolybac Ophthalmic Ointment (eye)