It’s always a decision that you have to make as some time in your horse ownership. Here are some guidelines that will help you decide when you need to call the vet in and help your horse.
- If your horse’s wound is bleeding a lot, is more than skin deep, or is spurting blood (indicating a cut artery). Also, is your cut is near a joint you would be sensible to call the vet as well.
- If your horse shows any signs of colic. This can be either a horse rolling, sweating, kicking its belly or some are quiet and generally off colour.
- Your horse’s temperature is more than one degree ‘F’ higher or lower than normal. Most horses are about 100.5 F it may be slightly higher for foals and might be lower for older horses. It is a good idea to take your horse’s temperature at different times of the year so that you know what is normal for your horse or pony.
- If your horse is lame. When you are trotting up your horse you need look and see which leg is on the ground when the horse’s head is up for the front legs. The hip is higher when a back leg goes down the horse’s neck will go down to balance. Also look for any heat, pain or swelling in the leg you think has a problem.
- If your horse is coughing repeatedly and not clearing its nostrils after coughing.
- If your horse is not responding in its usual way and generally seems off colour. This is why it is to get to know your horse and understand their usual responses.
If your horse is suffering for any of the above conditions it should not be worked. This may seem obvious but there have been cases where, for example, a horse has shown symptoms of mild colic which then appeared to cease. The horse has been ridden soon after and had another colic attack with the ride on board, or a slightly lame horse has been ridden, the lameness appears to wear off but after work, the horse has been much lamer than before. So wait for veterinary advice.
If you have a wound that may need to be stitched do not apply anything other than cold water as creams, powder and sprays will interfere with the healing process and may make the wound unstitchable.
When you vet arrives you need to give the following information:
- How long the horse has had the complaint
- Recordings of Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration. (TPR).
- Which different symptoms have been displayed and what action has been taken
- How the injury occurred
- If the horse has staled or passed any droppings recently and were they normal.
- Whether the horse has any know disease/problems/allergies or allergic reactions to medications.
If you have any concerns you need to talk to either a stable manager on a yard that you are at or go straight to your vet and discuss the problem with them. The more you know that is normal for your horse or pony the more you will know when to call your vet.
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