Presentation on theme: "Equine Emergency Care – What do to before the vet arrives? September 7, 2011."— Presentation transcript:
Equine Emergency Care – What do to before the vet arrives? September 7, 2011
WHAT WOULD YOU DO???
N.A.H.M.S. – The Big Three Injury, Wounds, Trauma Colic Lameness
Deciding when to call the vet 1.CRITICAL – Call vet immediately Non-weight bearing lameness (i.e., fracture) Non-weight bearing lameness (i.e., fracture) Acute laminitisAcute laminitis Sudden/severe inability to breathe Sudden/severe inability to breathe Persistent bleeding from orifice or wound Persistent bleeding from orifice or wound Severe/persistent colicky behavior Severe/persistent colicky behavior Severe neurological symptoms Severe neurological symptoms Blindness, eye trauma Blindness, eye trauma Trauma near vital structures Trauma near vital structures High fever or heat stroke High fever or heat stroke
Deciding when to call the vet 2.URGENT – Call vet same or next day Low-grade fever Low-grade fever Sudden onset of weight-bearing lameness Sudden onset of weight-bearing lameness Superficial trauma away from vital structures Superficial trauma away from vital structures Signs of less-severe colic Signs of less-severe colic Chronic laminitis flare-ups Chronic laminitis flare-ups Chronic inflammatory respiratory disease flare-ups Chronic inflammatory respiratory disease flare-ups
Deciding when to call the vet 3.ELECTIVE – Request appointment Intermittent/slight lameness Intermittent/slight lameness Persistent skin problems Persistent skin problems Slight eye discharge (no pain/vision loss) Slight eye discharge (no pain/vision loss) Reduced appetite Reduced appetite Difficulty chewing Difficulty chewing Nasal discharge (no fever or labored breathing) Nasal discharge (no fever or labored breathing) 4.PREVENTIVE – Regular visits Vaccinations, dental care, gen’l physical exams, etc. Vaccinations, dental care, gen’l physical exams, etc.
But how do you KNOW?? Know normal from abnormal Powers of observation! Basic Physical Examination Vital signs In combination with outward appearance Hands on Hands off Prevention is the best preparation!!
Recognize Signs of Distress Decreased appetite Lethargic Lying down longer than normal Single animal off by itself Sudden lameness Squinting, tearing, or holding eye closed Fever (greater than 102 degrees F) Purple or red gum color
Is it an emergency? If your horse can find a way to get in trouble, it will! Assess and describe situation Location & severity of injury
Preparation Walk your horse’s environment Every time you enter it’s stall/field Make it routine Plan ahead – know closest vet hospital and how you’ll get there
Barn Injury Safety Tour Entrance Door must open fully Non-poisonous shrubs at entrance Doors at least 4 feet wide, 8 feet high Aisles Ceilings at least 8 feet (12 feet better) Floors with traction – dry or wet Walls tidy and free of clutter Recessed doors Lights out of the way/covered Free of wasp nests
Barn Aisle Which one would you prefer?
Barn Injury Safety Tour Stalls Wide doors Latches flush with doorframe Examine boards for rot, loose nails, chewed spots Floor should promote drainage Bars in windows; windows made of plexiglass Cast rail or groove (allows horse to get a grip)
Barn Injury Safety Tour Wash Stalls All of stall requirements apply here, too! Non-skid floors Lights properly covered for use in wet areas Electrical outlets covered Keep equipment at a minimum Run-in sheds Ground subject to erosion Minimum 6-ft entrance for 2 horses
Barn Injury Safety Tour Pastures Examine fence lines for loose wires/broken boards Repair immediately! Remove fallen branches and tree stumps
Essential First Aid Kit Gauze pads Roll cotton Brown gauze Adhesive wrap Leg wraps Scissors White tape Duct Tape Stethoscope Thermometer Hoof pick Eye wash Antiseptic solution Latex gloves Flashlight and spare battery Drugs?
Before the vet arrives… Vital signs Write them down! Handling the animal Catch and calm down the horse If possible, take to a safe place like a stall or paddock Ask someone to help you Control bleeding Average horse has 12 gallons of blood! Shock when 10% blood volume lost
COMMON EMERGENCY SITUATIONS Choke Eye injuries Colic Sudden onset of severe lameness Fever Lacerations
CHOKE Esophageal obstruction (not windpipe) Not always an extreme emergency – a lot will resolve on their own Usually occurs when horses eat too fast or don’t chew their feed enough; therefore usually occurs after or during a meal Call veterinarian if it does not resolve in 30min
Signs of choke… Standing quiet not eating or drinking Large amounts of green discharge w/ food particles mixed in it coming from the nose Some horses will paw, cough or act very distressed
What to do…… Remove all feed from the stall (water is okay) stall (water is okay) If you can see an area on the neck where the blockage may be (always on the left) you can gently massage it If it does not resolve the vet will sedate the horse, pass a tube and try to flush the feed down into the stomach
EYES EYES ARE ALWAYS AN EMERGENCY! Cloudy Squinting Excessive tearing Lacerations
What to do… Try to prevent them from rubbing the eye DO NOT USE ANY OLD EYE OINTMENTS IN AN EYE THAT A VET HAS NOT SEEN (an inappropriate ointment can do more damage than good and some old ointment can be contaminated with bacteria) good and some old ointment can be contaminated with bacteria)
SIGNS OF COLIC MILD – off feed, quiet, occasional flank watching, laying down more than normal MODERATE – the above + pawing, rolling, getting up and down a lot, standing in a stretched position, sweating SEVERE – the above + trying to go down even when being walked and hard to get up once down
WHAT TO DO….. If possible take the horse’s TPR Call your veterinarian Take away any feed If the horse is rolling walk it to prevent it from doing so – if it is laying quietly that is okay If you do have Banamine and choose to give it before the vet arrives do not be fooled by the fact that it will make them feel better while it is in their system although the cause of the discomfort has not been eliminated
SUDDEN ONSET OF SEVERE LAMENESS Any lameness in which the horse is reluctant to move or put weight on the leg or is significantly lame at the walk Any lameness in which the horse is reluctant to move or put weight on the leg or is significantly lame at the walk
What could it be???? Abscess Penetrating wound to the sole Cellulitis Fracture Joint or tendon sheath infection
What to do….. Call your veterinarian Don’t move the horse if there is a chance that it may be fracture If there is a nail in the foot DO NOT TAKE IT OUT UNTIL THE VET ARRIVES!!!!! If the horse appears distressed give them some hay If there are any open wounds address them as you would a laceration – clean and wrap while you wait for the vet
Hoof Abscess Can be as lame as a horse with a fracture a fracture A pus pocket develops in the sole of the hoof and can become very painful in a very short period of time Generally the abscess will drain and the problem resolves uneventfully Probably the most common cause of acute onset of severe lameness
Penetrating Wound to Sole IE – a nail in the hoof Pick out the foot and thoroughly examine the thoroughly examine the foot for a foreign body foot for a foreign body DO NOT TAKE OUT A NAIL BEFORE THE VET GETS THERE!!!! BEFORE THE VET GETS THERE!!!! It is very important to take an x-ray with the nail in the foot to determine what structures it may have penetrated and therefore what the treatment and the prognosis will be
Cellulitis Bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues that can enter from the smallest nick and lead to a very swollen leg very quickly It generally responds well to antibiotic and diuretic therapy The leg can be VERY swollen - so much so that the skin can crack and seep fluid Can often be very painful to touch
FRACTURE Some are more obvious than others…. than others…. Closed vs. Open DO NOT MOVE THE HORSE until the vet arrives and can apply an appropriate splint to the area
Many horses can be saved with surgical repair but it can be very costly and there can be complication There are also many fractures that cannot be repaired due to the fact that they have to stand on their feet during the healing process Fractures such as coffin bone fractures and splint bone fracture generally do well and do not need to be surgically repaired
Any horse that is off feed should have its temperature taken because most horses with a fever do not have an appetite It is wise to have a vet come out and see if they can find a cause for the fever Banamine or bute can help decrease a fever Having a high fever is not good for the horse’s body in general
What to do…. Call the vet Depending on the location, size and timing (<8hr) of it it may need to be sutured If there is a significant amount of bleeding apply a bandage and pressure if the horse allows you to Keep the horse still – it will also help with controlling the bleeding If it is a puncture wound talk to the vet before removing the item
If the bleeding is under control and the wound is contaminated with dirt or manure you can gently lavage the wound with warm water (sterile saline is ideal) – DILUTION IS THE SOLUTION TO POLLUTION!!! DO NOT apply ointments or sprays while you are or sprays while you are waiting waiting
OTHER EMERGENCIES Hives – generally respond well to corticosteroids Down horse – i.e. elderly horses that slip on the ice in winter Trapped horse/ trailer accident – sedation can be a key to the best outcome