Coping With Equine Emergencies


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Coping With Equine Emergencies

Morgan Murphy

Coping With Equine Emergencies

Small wounds, cuts and grazes are common minor injuries among horses. However, if you are in the unfortunate position of having a seriously injured horse, knowing how to approach the problem and administer first aid can help the long-term outcome.

What to do in an emergency

Rule number one when dealing with an injured horse is: Never put yourself in harm's way. Pain can cause an injured horse to act out of character. It's advisable to seek assistance when treating an injured horse, even if all you need is someone to stand by and be on watch.

  • Rule number two when dealing with an injury is: don't panic. Your horse will pick up on any tension and worry that you display so keeping cool, calm and collected is a good way to keep your horse reassured and cooperative. Take a long, deep breath, then decide how to proceed.
  • Keep your veterinarian’s number in your phone, in your first aid kit and listed at the barn. It may also be useful to have the barn’s full address and zip code listed, as it can be easy to forget such details in times of stress. Having the vet’s phone number and your barn details in several locations will ensure that the relevant information is easily accessible and you are not struggling to find or recall details at a critical time.
  • Call your veterinarian for advice straightaway – they will offer advice on how to manage until they arrive, which may take some time.
  • Ensure you have plenty of supplies on hand. A well-stocked first aid kit will always come in handy in times of emergency. Consult our article on essential first aid kit components for tips on what to include.
  • Watch for signs of shock such as weak pulse, labored breathing, sweating and pale mucous membranes and report any indicators to your vet upon their arrival. They will need to treat the shock as well as the injury.
  • Keep other horses away – your horse may panic if he feels vulnerable, so keep him stalled with the door closed until he is treated.

Generally, when relevant, initial treatment will involve stemming the bleeding, cleaning the wound site and discussing the subsequent treatment with the vet. Options can include stitching, skin grafts, possibly even second intention healing where the wound is left open or packed with gel (note that your vet's choice of treatment will depend upon the injury’s type, cause and location). By following our tips on coping in an emergency you can put your horse and vet in the best position to secure a quick and full recovery.

For more information on veterinary care for horses visit us at again soon.

  • This is brilliant - I really needed this for teaching some girls at the barn about emergencies. Im gonna recommend they come read this