Colic is by far the most common emergency we see, and the most prevalent emergency issue horses seem to have in the area. Signs of colic vary greatly, and depend not only on the severity of the issue, but also the personality of the horse. Signs you may see could be as severe as violent rolling, kicking at their belly, pawing at the ground, but may be as little as just not eating, or acting a little quieter than normal.
Unfortunately, some horses show very few signs even when they have a very severe, life-threatening issue, while others show severe signs although the have a mild, quickly-passing episode. This makes it difficult to judge the severity of the problem without a full colic work-up. Little problems that can be easily addressed early on can turn into much larger, untreatable problems sometimes over the course of as little as a few hours; this is why we strongly encourage you to call us as soon as you realize your horse is having problems. With certain issues, the longer you wait, the less chance your horse might have to survive, even with non-surgical colics.
We are available 24/7 for ANY emergency - just call us at (843) 340-3329! We strongly recommend that you have an Emergency Veterinary Consent Form filled out and kept with your horse in case you are not available or are unable to make a decision regarding your horse's veterinary care.
"Choking" in horses is different than in people - in people, it refers to a blockage of the airway, while in horses it refers to a blockage of the esophagus. Although it is not immediately life-threatening, if it is not treated right away, it can eventually be fatal (due to ruptures of the esophagus) and can commonly lead to life-long issues in the esophagus, as well as pneumonia. Do not wait until the next day to act.
The most common signs noticed for chokes are coughing and (sometimes extreme volumes of) fluid coming out of one or both nostrils.
If your horse is choking, please call us immediately for advice - some chokes can be resolved without us coming out, but please call us to discuss the proper steps to take.
After colics, lacerations are the next most common emergency we see. It is usually obvious that there is a problem, but how do you know when to call us? If the injury is more than superficial, please call us as soon as possible - after the first 6-8 hours, the likelihood of closing up a wound without complications begins to go downhill. If a wound is over a joint, please call us, as it is extremely important to confirm whether a wound has entered a joint right away. Untreated joint infections can lead to life-long, crippling lameness which can be avoided with prompt treatment.
If you choose to manage a wound on your own, please follow proper wound care, including using a scrub to clean it (we recommend iodine scrub); be sure you are not using the "solution," as this does NOT have soap in it. You horse also needs to be boostered with the Tetanus Toxoid vaccine if they have not been vaccinated within the last 6 months. Please call us before administering the Tetanus Antitoxin, as there are very few cases where this is appropriately used, and is associated with a severe, life-threatening liver disease.