Q3) My horse has incurred a common injury, should I
call the vet?
This can be a very tricky and scary question. It's very
similar to what parents of newborns experience when every fever seems to warrant
a call to the pediatrician. So how do you decide? There are some very obvious
situations when a horse's life is in immediate danger due to an injury and there
is no question about whether or not to summon a vet but there are other
situations when you are just not sure if its really necessary. We all know how
valuable a veterinarian's time is and we certainly don't want delay or distract
the vet from a true emergency.
Here is an abbreviated guide to when you should call your vet
after a common horse injury has occurred:
1. Any obvious or suspected broken bones.
2. Any deep lacerations that show injury
deeper than the level of the skin
3. Any large puncture wound.
4. Any scrapes or abrasions that cover large
areas of your horses body.
5. Contusions that continue to swell more
than 24 hours after injury.
6. In performance horses any sign of
lameness is usually enough to call a vet, as even a slight swelling could
indicate a bowed tendon. If your horse is unable to bear any weight on the leg
and is showing a "hopping" movement a vet is certainly needed as well.
With non-performance horses unresolved lameness or "off-ness" after
12-24 hours should be attended to by a veterinarian.
It is so very important to become familiar with equine
injuries so that you can make educated decisions when administering first aid
and calling for medical help. Once you have this knowledge you can feel more
comfortable going with your "gut feeling" in both emergency and
non-emergency situations. And if all else fails and you still don't know what to
do, you can always go with "better safe than sorry" and put that call
into the vet.
Another option to consider is contacting the staff at your
veterinarian's office. They are often trained to answer first aid questions and
to let you know whether a vet should in fact be dispatched. It is always nice to
have this option as a back-up and can even be a deciding factor on which vet you
choose to use.
For more detailed first-aid information go to: