26900 75th Street, Salem, WI 53168

Neurologic Abnormalities


Neurologic problems encompass a large variety of presentations that can involve the brain, spinal cord, and/or peripheral nerves. Below are a few examples of neurologic difficulties.

•Difficulty with balance

•Dragging a toe

•Having a “weird” gait

•Leaning on a wall or other objects

•Holding the head and neck in an abnormal position

•Walking aimlessly as if the horse is “drunk”

•Walking in circles

•Displaying seizure-like activity

•Acting “dumb”

•Inability to stand up straight


These horses should receive immediate veterinary care. Like colicky horses and down horses, these patients can also be dangerous and may not be aware that they are going to injure you.


Respiratory Distress


A horse that is having difficulties breathing is an emergency. Horses can only breathe through their nostrils; they cannot breathe through their mouth. A horse that is pre-occupied with breathing should be seen by a veterinarian. There are many causes for a high respiratory rate and/or an increased effort to breathe. Some of these causes include the following:


•High fever

•Nasal discharge

•Facial or throat swelling


If you have concerns about any breathing difficulties and/or the respiratory rate is above normal, you should consult your veterinarian. While not all incidences will warrant an emergency veterinary visit, it is important to monitor your horse’s respiratory system and act accordingly if needed.

How to take a respiratory rate:

•Normal respiratory rate for an adult horse: 16-32 breaths per minute.

•Count the number of times the nostrils flare over a 60 second period to obtain the number of breaths per minute.


Eye Emergencies


Any eye that is squinting, swollen, red, cloudy, gooey, teary, and/or just “looks weird” should receive veterinary treatment immediately. Eye problems that are simple and “not a big deal” and problems that are serious and vision threatening can present themselves in a similar manner making it difficult for an owner to tell the difference. Do not put any ointment or drops in the eye while you are waiting for the vet to arrive as this can interfere with the exam or any testing, if warranted.


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Down Horse
Neurologic Abnormalities
Respiratory Distress
Eye Emergencies
Foaling Difficulties

Bristol Veterinary Services

26900 75th Street,
Salem, WI 53168
Phone:  262-859-2560  
Fax:  262-859-0459