We know how important your horse is to you and we are pleased to provide 24 hour/ 7 day emergency service. If you have an after-hours emergency, call the office number (225) 744-4671, a doctor will return your call as soon as possible.
What is an Emergency?
Call your vet immediately if:
- Colic (Don’t wait on these, call on the very first sign. Ex. Off feed)
- An injury with bleeding that won’t stop
- Obvious or suspected fractures
- A cut or laceration that require sutures
- Abrasions or lacerations over joints
- Sudden lameness
- Respiratory distress
- Watery diarrhea
- Eye injuries (including squinted and swollen and tearing eyes)
- Foreign bodies (such as a nail found in a hoof-do NOT pull the nail)
First, know what’s normal for your horse:
- Rectal Temperature: 99.5⁰F – 101.5⁰F (Temps over 103 indicate a fever)
- Heart rate: 30-42 beats per minute (elevated HR’s at rest can indicate pain or distress)
- Respiration rate: 12-20 breaths per minute (elevated RR’s and effort can indicate respiratory distress, pain, and other problems)
- Gut sounds: 2-3 per minute on both sides (an increase, decrease, or lack thereof could indicate colic)
- Capillary Refill Time (time it takes for color to return to gum tissue after pressing and releasing it with your thumb): less than 2 seconds (A prolonged CRT can indicate dehydration, shock, severe blood loss, etc) Mucous Membrane Color (color of the tissues of the gums, nostrils, conjunctiva, and inner lips of the vulva): pink (red, pale pink, white, yellow, bluish purple indicate specific problems)
- Mucous Membrane/Gum wetness: your finger should easily glide over the wet slippery surface of the gums (tacky or dry gums indicate dehydration)
- Skin Pliability: the skin over the neck or upper eyelid should snap back into place when pinched and released (A prolonged skin tent indicates dehydration)
- Defecation & Urination: color, consistency, and volume of manure and urine should be typical of your horse (Any change in color, consistency, amount, lack of, or straining indicates a problem)
- Any signs of pain, distress, anxiety
- Lethargy or depression
- Off-feed Evidence of a lameness (unwilling to move, odd stance, head nod)
- Any bleeding, lacerations, swelling, areas of heat or pain
- Downed horse
- Choking horse (distressed horse with feed material coming out of nose)
- Seizures, Tying Up
If you aren’t sure if you have an emergency, call your vet and ask!
What to do until the Vet Arrives?
- Do not panic. The calmer you are, the calmer your horse will be.
- Move the animal to a safe location, a location where if it goes down it won’t injure itself.
- Restrain your horse, and assess your horse’s injury or sudden illness and vital signs.
- Get help from a family member or friend if needed to help hold the horse, call the vet, get supplies from the first aid kit, etc.
- Notify the veterinarian immediately.
- Be prepared to give detailed information to the veterinarian about the horse’s condition, vital signs, location of a laceration, etc.
- Listen closely and follow your veterinarian’s instructions. Then head to the vet clinic, or wait for them to arrive.
- Do not administer any drugs or attempt any treatments unless specifically instructed to do so by your vet.