Essex Equine provides 24-hour emergency service to our current clients. In the case of an equine emergency, please call (978) 779-3345 any time to reach our on-call veterinarian. During business hours, our office staff will assist you with the emergency. After-hours and on the weekend, follow the prompt to be connected to the on-call veterinarian.
Our office voicemail and email are not monitored after hours or over the weekend.
How To Tell If It’s An Emergency
Normal vital signs for horses:
Respiration: 8-12 breaths per minute
Heart rate: 36-42 beats per minute
Capillary refill: 2 seconds
- Don’t Panic – take a deep breath and think rationally to help your horse.
- Triage the situation – determine if it is a life-threatening/urgent matter or if you have time to gather more information and stabilize the situation before requesting veterinary care.
- If time permits, gather information to give to the veterinarian – this can help the veterinarian fully assess the situation and determine the extent of the emergency
- TPR and gut sounds – if it is safe to do so, take your horse’s temperature, respirations per minute, and pulse per minute, and listen for gut sounds.
- Check water intake and if the horse has been eating and eliminating (pooping and peeing) normally
- Note any symptoms that the horse is exhibiting and if you have given the horse any medication
- Take pictures of any wounds or short videos of physical symptoms if possible – those can be sent to email@example.com
If you own horses long enough, sooner or later you are likely to confront a medical emergency. From lacerations to colic to foaling difficulties, there are many emergencies that a horse owner may encounter. You must know how to recognize serious problems and respond promptly, taking appropriate action while awaiting the arrival of your veterinarian. Preparation is vital when confronted with a medical emergency. No matter the situation you may face, mentally rehearse the steps you will take to avoid letting panic take control.
Follow these guidelines from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) to help you prepare for an equine emergency:
- Keep your veterinarian’s number in your phone, including how the practitioner can be reached after hours.
- Consult with your regular veterinarian regarding a back-up or referring veterinarian’s number in case you cannot reach your regular veterinarian quickly enough.
- Know in advance the most direct route to an equine surgery center in case you need to transport the horse.
- Store the names and phone numbers of nearby friends and neighbors who can assist you in an emergency while you wait for the veterinarian.
- Prepare a first aid kit and store it in a clean, dry, readily accessible place. Make sure that family members and other barn users know where the kit is. Also keep a first aid kit in your horse trailer or towing vehicle, and a pared-down version to carry on the trail.
First aid kits can be simple or elaborate. Here is a short list of essential items:
- Cotton roll
- Cling wrap
- Gauze pads, in assorted sizes
- Sharp scissors
- Cup or container
- Rectal thermometer with string and clip attached
- Surgical scrub and antiseptic solution
- Latex gloves
- Saline solution