Horse First Aid for Sudden-Onset Illness

A sudden-onset illness is one where the symptoms appear suddenly and seemingly [no-glossary]out of the blue. The horse is healthy one minute, but obviously ill the next minute.

Diseases caused by viruses, colic, poisonings, adverse drug reactions, hemorrhages, and heart arrhythmias are typical conditions that can appear without warning and need immediate attention.

Symptoms of sudden-onset illness in the horse

Being prepared to deal with any emergency by having a first aid kit readily available, knowing your horse's normal vital signs, and knowing what to do in each case is extremely important for any horse owner or care-taker.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stiffness
  • Change in gait
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nasal discharge
  • Depression
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Paralysis
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

Dealing with a sudden-onset illness in the horse

  1. Check the horse's vital signs and compare them with normal readings.
  2. Note symptoms and call your veterinarian for advice and follow-up treatment.
  3. Keep the horse calm and restrained if necessary.
  4. Follow the advice your veterinarian gives you for immediate first-aid care for your ailing horse and make arrangements for necessary follow-up treatment.

Related products

This revised and updated book, The Horse Owner's Vet Book : Recognition and Treatment of Common Horse and Pony Ailments is easy to read and gives solid information about common horse disease. Very helpful for horse owners who want to quickly look up symptoms when horse is suddenly ill.

Having this easy-to use Littmann Lightweight Stethoscope will allow the horse owner to quickly check for heart rate and gut sounds in a horse that is showing symptoms of sudden-onset illness. A stethoscope is a useful tool which allows the horse owner to give a veterinarian correct information about the horse's vital signs.

This Nutri-Vet Digital Thermometer provides fast, accurate temperature readings in as little as 10 seconds on an easy to read display. With a temperature range of 90-108 degrees F, a horse owner can easily determine if the horse has a temperature in the danger zone of 102 plus degrees.

About the author

EquiMed Staff shares a common goal of helping you improve your horse's health. The staff work together to develop unique web-focused content that answers the most common questions of horse owners. EquiMed staff written content is updated frequently to incorporate the best practices within the equine healthcare industry. Thanks for visiting!

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