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Frequently Asked Questions

Common Horse Injuries


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:

FAQs First-Aid

Back to Common Horse Injuries Index    

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