Lameness is a word used to describe a limping horse. Keep in mind that most lameness problems do not need to be seen on an emergency basis. Limping can be mild to the point that it is barely detectable to severe and/or non-weight bearing. Horses that have a severe lameness should receive immediate veterinary attention. A few examples of serious lameness problems that should be seen immediately include the following:
•Deep wound over a joint or tendon
A few notes about laminitis:
•There are many causes of laminitis including but not limited to hormone imbalances, over-eating, colitis, diarrhea and retained placenta.
•These horses can be “limping lame” or can be “unwilling to move”. In both of cases, the horse should be seen.
If you are unsure if you horse needs immediate veterinary attention, you may consult with the emergency veterinarian to help you decide on when to have the horse seen. While waiting for the return phone call from the vet, keep your horse quiet and after direction from your veterinarian, you may be able to move him or her to a stall or you might need to keep the horse where you found him/her until the vet arrives.
In horses, choke is the word used to describe when food gets lodged in the esophagus. The windpipe, or trachea, is not blocked; these horses can still breathe. Many times, these horses will continue to try eating and/or drinking. A horse with choke can show signs of the following:
•Distress and pain
•Outstretched head and neck
•Frothy green discharge from the nose and/or mouth
•Signs of colic (mentioned above)
•Coughing (may also have excessive salivation with the cough)
This is an emergency condition. If left untreated, the horse can develop severe, life threatening complications. It is important to remove all accessible food and water and do not administer any oral medications while waiting for the vet to arrive.
Colic is a word used to describe abdominal pain. There are many different causes of colic and the types of colic behaviors can range from mild to severe. Any horse with colic should be seen by a veterinarian right away. A few examples of colic behaviors include the following:
•Flehman Reaction (curling of upper lip)
•Flank watching (frequent turning of head and neck to look at the abdomen)
•Standing with hind limbs stretched out
•Laying down for long periods of time
•Decreased or absent manure output and/or urine output
•Decreased or absent appetite and/or drinking
•Kicking at abdomen
Severity of the signs and behavior changes that your horse is showing does not necessarily correlate to the severity of the problem. Please keep in mind that some horses can be violent when they experience pain and can hurt you on accident. It is important to always keep yourself safe and remove any objects from the area to keep your horse safe as well.
Common Health Topics
Bristol Veterinary Services
26900 75th Street,
Salem, WI 53168