Horse Health

Equine 911

August 1, 2013

A heads-up on horse-health emergencies.

bandaging a horse leg

In the event of a small cut or wound, know what supplies you’ll need to treat it immediately. Journal photo.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Farnam

Your horse isn’t acting normal, or sometime during the night, he managed to gouge himself in the leg, or he has developed a sudden limp. These are situations that cause even experienced horse owners and riders concern.

Although the lists below may not include everything that you would need to know, have or respond to, it covers many of the major types of emergencies that can occur with horses.

If your horse is experiencing any of the following conditions or symptoms, he needs help fast:

For colic or any other horse health emergency, you’ll have a head start on getting your horse back on track if you can give the veterinarian information about your horse’s vital signs when you call. Be sure to ask your vet the normal range of vitals for your horse during a routine visit so that you have a baseline to use in case of emergency.

While there are several recognizable symptoms associated with common horse ailments, stomach ulcers may be more difficult to diagnose. Learn the signs and treatment options for this common health problem in horses by downloading your free copy of the Stomach Ulcers in Horses report.

Typical vitals for horses are:

  • Temperature (99-101 F for an adult horse)
  • Heart rate (28-44 beats per minute)
  • Respiratory rate (10-24 breaths per minute)
  • Appearance of the gums. Normal is moist and pink, with good circulation. Press on the gums with a finger and see how long it takes to return to pink. It should take only about 2 seconds.
  • Listen to both sides of his gut by putting your ear against each flank. You should hear gurgling sounds, similar to a growling stomach, on both sides.

Keep a first-aid kit handy in your tack room or trailer and be sure to check it at least once a year and to restock after any use. The basic kit should include items such as:

  • a thermometer
  • stethoscope
  • antiseptic wash
  • self-adhesive bandages
  • scissors
  • absorbent padding
  • antibiotic cream
  • saline wash
  • rubber gloves
  • hoof pick and knife
  • duct tape
  • flashlight
  • clippers

This list is just a beginning. Ask your veterinarian for other items that might be helpful for your horses. Post important numbers, such as your veterinarian’s, in handy places, as well. Keep everything together in a waterproof case and hope that you never have to open it!

Did you know that stomach ulcers are fairly common in horses? Your horse could be at risk, whether he is grazing in a pasture or competing regularly at horse shows. Learn the symptoms of stomach ulcers, and find out how you can treat or prevent them. Download your free copy of the Stomach Ulcers in Horses report today.