It’s never been proven that horses keep calendars in their stall to keep track of your veterinarian’s hours, but sometimes it sure feels like it. It seems unfair that veterinarians are as mortal as the rest of us and require sleep and time off to recuperate, but there it is. Many vets have an emergency call number in which a group of them share the 0330 ‘My horse is sick!’ calls. If your veterinarian doesn’t have an emergency team, they probably do know of an emergency vet to recommend you use if you detect illness in your horse.
Be Prepared in case of Emergency
If you detect trauma or illness in your horse, don’t panic. It’s very hard to see our babies (even if they’re six times our size, they’re still our babies) sick or injured, but you’ll need to evaluate their condition. Whatever is wrong, you may just need your nearby barn first-aid kit. If you don’t have a handy barn first-aid kit you can Google up a list of good things to include in one, or buy a pre-made kit, but the gist is bandages, painkillers such as AbButazone, wound cleanser and a thermometer. (Don’t worry – we won’t tell your horse ahead of time where it will be going.) The better prepared you are before the fact, the better you’ll deal with things during the fact!
It’s always good to have a list of your emergency numbers if the barn so you don’t have to run around looking for them. It’s also a good idea to have a note of their current medications and past conditions. It may seem a bit silly now, but also put your address and cell phone number on that page, so when frantic you’re not being forced to remember things that seem natural to know but are escaping your recall.
The Hard Call – Decision time
Be prepared for some tough decisions. As a servant to our four feet, we would like to think we would do anything for the health and happiness, but sometimes reality intrudes. You have to have an idea of how much you’ll spend to save your horse. Colic surgeries can run between $5000 and $10,000. You have to be cold hearted and look at what you can reasonably attain, your horse’s general health, their age, and the success rate of the surgery. Sometimes the kindness is letting your baby go. These are the sorts of things to think of before you have to make them. Even if you only have a vague idea of what choices you’ll make, it’ll help you when you’re forced to make them.
Last but not least, not all veterinarians will be able to haul out to your barn in the middle of the night or even middle of a Sunday on a long weekend. You’ll need to be able to haul your horse out to them and if you don’t own a trailer, have a list of friends or associates who do and who will be willing to help you out. I recommend offering to buy coffee for them between the hours of 10 pm and 10 am. Thank you presents for their horses would probably also be appreciated!
The better prepared you are for any sudden emergencies, the less worry you’ll enjoy. Remember, the calmer you are, the calmer your horse will be!