By thinking and planning ahead, most emergency situations can be handled satisfactorily with a positive outcome for both horse and owner. Follow these five tips for effective preparedness:
1. Know the symptoms
- Musculosketetal injuries
- Neonatal complications
- Respiratory distress
- Severe bleeding
2. Provide proper care
Have your veterinarian's contact information readily available, with a back-up plan on hand if the veterinarian cannot be reached immediately. Regular appointments with a veterinarian are not only important for the everyday care of the horse, but they also allow the veterinarian to become familiar with the animal, so that in an emergency situation the veterinarian will be able to make the best recommendations for treatment.
3. Select a local equine hospital ahead of time
In a life-threatening situation, the veterinarian may want the animal in a hospital setting to make sure the proper medical attention is administered. Being familiar with the facilities in your area, and having the contact information readily available, can save time and significantly influence the outcome of any necessary procedures.
4. Have your records ready
Upon arrival at a medical facility, a basic health history will be requested, along with an account of the details related to the injury or illness. Since a definitive diagnosis will be made based on the physical exam and medical history, it is imperative to have the medical history for each horse available for the veterinarian who will be making the treatment decisions.
5. Plan ahead financially
Treating a horse in an emergency situation can be expensive. Dealing with an injured or sick horse is a roller coaster ride, both emotionally and financially. Developing a strategy for dealing with the decisions that must be made during the process allows for clear thinking and careful determination about how far to go and how to cover the expenses when the need arises.
Explore the symptoms of the common diseases and conditions mentioned in this article in our Diseases and Conditions reference library.