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Can't Wait Won't Wait

When your Horse or Pony requires the services of a Vet, how urgent a situation is it ?
The phone rings and the Vet hears you saying "please come straight away" does that mean your sick or injured horse, CAN'T WAIT, or it simply your own impatience meaning you WON'T WAIT for him to visit.

The needs of someone else's Horse may at that time be greater than yours. In this article some key issues are raised, which may help you to be better prepared, should you have to decide what constitutes an emergency and what is simply a matter of concern.

Your horse will no doubt, throughout its life need the attention of a Vet, this may simply be to have it's teeth dressed or alternatively in a life and death emergency.

The best approach to your horses welfare is to think ahead and to have already planned your course of action in the event of various situations arising. This is not to say that you should spend endless hours worrying about what you would do if this or that happened, it is more a case of being aware of potential situations and being prepared to act accordingly.

A good way to start is that of prioritizing events. This can simply be on a five star rating with five being an actual emergency situation as shown here.

We all know that involvement with and especially ownership of horses brings with it the responsibility for their health and well-being and it is true to say that most people are responsible and do care for the animals in their charge, but sadly, many of us do not have the knowledge and experience to always be able to make the right judgement or to take the correct course of action in a time of emergency.

How often do we hear the saying "Killed With Kindness" ?


Examples of these ratings are:

Regular veterinary treatment of your horse such as having it's teeth dressed or having annual vaccination. These are obviously not a matter of urgency and can be arranged some time in advance by booking an appointment.

Your horse has suffered a minor injury, is displaying a loss of condition or is showing some uncharictaristical symptoms which, although not a matter of great concern you wish to discuss with your Vet so as to obtain words of
comfort and advise which will reasure you about any fears that you may be having.

Although not apparently in great pain the condition of your horse is continuing to deteriorate despite your having applied first-aid treatment or taken remedial action such as box rest for signs of lameness.This is obviously not life threatening or an Emergency and therefore may simply mean that the Vet calls upon you A.S.A.P. or the next time that he is in your area.

Your horse requires regular veterinary treatment = *
You require words of comfort and advise from the Vet = **
In need of veterinary attention A.S.A.P. = ***
In need of urgent veterinary attention = ****
Emergency treatment required NOW= *****

You would regard your horse as being in need of urgent veterinary attention if it's condition has suddenly deteriorated and it has a high temperature, if it shows signs of severe lameness or other discomfort without any obvious causes. In these circumstances your Vet would come as soon as possible the same day.

Emergency treatment required NOW your horse has suffered a serious injury, it has a sustained high temperature or is displaying symptoms of illness such as Transit Tetany or severe Colic, all of these would require the immediate attendance of your Vet as if not treated promptly they they can prove fatal.

It should be remembered that in most cases it is the Vet that comes to you and although they don't like to be called out on false alarms they would rather you contacted them earlier rather than let your animal suffer, after all, what you may regard as an emergency may after talking to the Vet turn out to be something minor.

It is a good idea, that as part of your horse management you compile a record of relevant details about your Horse or Pony which should include the following, that way if you do have to call out the Vet you will have some useful information at hand.
Your Vets Name
Their Contact details
Your horse type or breed
It's height
It's age
Any known previous health problems
The date and type of the last vaccination
Although the Vet will probably not need all of the above, it may help and will stop you having the problem of trying to remember details during a time of crisis when your mind is more on the current condition of your horse than it's history.
It is advisable to keep this information in an easily retrievable location such as your Tackbox or Grooming Kit.


When calling the Vet;

Before picking up the phone prepare your facts and think about what it is you are going to say, you need to be clear and concise with your details.
The information that they will want is:

  • Who you are:
  • Your reason for calling:
  • The symptoms shown by your Horse or Pony and if an accident, how it happened:
  • When the problem first occurred:
  • What treatment you have given:
  • Where the sick animal can be visited:
  • How urgent your estimate of the situation is:

First-Aid Kit
It is advisable to keep a small amount of first-aid equipment, these should include:

  • A bottle of antiseptic
  • A 1lb roll of cotton wool
  • 3 each of 75mm and 100mm surgical bandages
  • A roll of surgical gauze
  • A pair of scissors
  • Coins for the phone

There is no need to go overboard with the contents of the kit and I am sure that your Vet would be willing to advise and supply you with the necessary items.

There are many books available with the subject "The Health And Treatment Of Horses" some of which you may find to be a good read, one that has always been found to be useful and a good source of information is:

Horse And Pony Ailments
by Eddie Straiton
Published by Farming Press Books




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