Any emergency involving your horse can be a very stressful event for you and your equine companion! No matter what the emergency the most important thing after contacting your veterinarian is to stay calm. The most common emergencies that we see are colics and lacerations. Below we have some basic advice and information on each of these common emergencies.
The term colic simply means "abdominal pain". The symptoms of colic can be caused by a myriad of diseases and conditions. Symptoms of colic vary from very mild to severe. Mild to moderate colic signs include pawing, inappetance, looking at flank, lying quietly, depression, curling of top lip, change in attitude, standing as if he wants to urinate. Severe colic signs include rolling, thrashing in stall and kicking violently at his belly.
While many colics can be resolved through appropriate veterinary and owner care at the farm, some colics require surgical intervention or extensive medical care at a veterinary referral hospital. An early, thorough veterinary evaluation of your horse will help determine the proper course of action for your horse and give the best chance for your horse's survival.
Can you prevent colic? In some instances, yes. Regular de-worming, free access to fresh water, regular exercise if possible, keeping to a routine and avoiding sudden changes in feed and managment can help. Any changes to your horse's routine should be made gradually and carefully. Unfortunately, despite the most vigilant of care many cases of colic are not preventable.
If your horse begins to display signs of colic you should first contact your veterinarian to discuss the symptoms. If you horse is lying down or thrashing it can be helpful to actively walk your horse while waiting for the vet. Most importantly, stay safe. Do not give your horse any medications without first discussing it with your veterinarian as this could mask the signs of a serious colic that needs surgical intervention.
LACERATIONS AND WOUNDS
Horses, by nature, are prey animals but they are also very curious. Consequently, horses as a species seem to have the unique trait of being accident prone. Some wounds are minor and require only very basic first aid, while other wounds because of location, size or bleeding will warrant veterinary attention. The following are some characteristics of a wound that call for veterinary attention:
1. Location: Any wound, no matter the size, that is over a joint or other synovial structure needs to be examined. Infected joints or tendon sheaths are a life-threatening condition in the horse.
2. Heat and swelling: These can be signs of an infection.
3. Excessive bleeding: If you horse is bleeding profusely, pressure should be applied over the source of bleeding to slow it down. You can do this by taking a clean towel, fold it several times, place it over the wound and secure it in place with a stretchy bandage or hold in place with your hand. Most importantly, stay safe! Only work on a laceration if you can be assured that the horse is safe to work around.
Prompt evaluation and care of a wound by your veterinarian can not only help prevent the establishment of infection and further problems but can also cosmetically result in a smaller scar.
For more information on these services, please contact us today at 916-995-9141 or contact us here.