Keeping records on your horse or horses is a responsible thing to do. Knowing his baseline temperature and heart rate will help you determine if he is under stress, ill or a problem developing. We recommend keeping a logbook on each horse. The records should include injuries, illnesses, vaccinations and any tests and their results. You can record the dates of worming, trims and Coggins. It can be helpful if you change vets, are on the road or sell the horse. These records should be passed along to new owners so that they have a complete set of records for their new vet as well as helping them determine if a problem is in the making.
Every horse owner should have a first aid kit that they can access at any time. We have an excellent article on first aid kits on this site and we recommend printing it out and building a comprehensive kit for your use, because horses can come in from the pasture with cuts and wounds from just being with other horses. There are a lot of different reasons for horses to get hurt and when they do most owners panic. By panicking it causes the horse to get nervous and that can make matters worse.
Accidents do happen, but stay calm and evaluate the situation calmly and carefully. The following are some incidents and what you can do to handle them.
Accidents with cars or on the road
Accidents when traveling can be one of the scariest feelings. But remember, if you panic the horse will panic. The first thing to do is to move the horse to a safe and quiet area. If the horse cannot move and you are on the road or near traffic make sure that someone is available to wave traffic around and call the police. Cover the horse in a blanket and wait for the police to arrive. If you can move the horse, check him all over for cuts and abrasions. Take care of these wounds as described above. Even though you might not see an injury there maybe internal injuries, have the horse taken to a vet ASAP.
If a horse goes into shock it can be fatal if not treated immediately. Do not take this lightly, but remain calm. Talk to the horse calmly and in a tone he is familiar with, call the vet ASAP.
Symptoms of Shock
Dazed and Confused, depressed low pulse
Anxious with a rapid pulse
Pale mucous membranes
A horse can go into shock from an illness it doesn’t have to be an accident to trigger this. This can come from a circulatory problem. Take no chances and call a vet ASAP.
Wound and Cuts
When you see blood on your horse, find where the blood is coming. Small amounts of blood can be from an insect. If it is from a cut check to see if a blood clot is already forming. If the blood is still flowing try to stop it by using pressure and a clean cloth or gauze pad. The deeper the wound the more pressure you should use.
Blood has two different colors and you should note the color, it is important information on how you proceed.
Bright red color with a pulse like flow means that the artery was cut. Apply pressure and call a vet ASAP.
If the blood is a darker color and flowing steadily you may be able to take care of it yourself. Apply pressure; wait for blood to stop before cleaning it and bandaging it. The blood usually clots on its own. When it does clean the wound and the area around it and then bandage it. If the bleeding does not stop within 15 to 30 minutes call a vet. As with all wounds they heal better when they are exposed to oxygen. If the area is in an area that is unlikely to get too dirty do not bandage it, just clean it daily and apply a coat of antibiotic ointment and let nature take its course. If the wound is on the legs close to the hoof, wrap it with gauze and then vet wrap. This must be cleaned every day; allowing air to get to the wound but without the flies. Since you will be changing it daily you will need more than one vet wrap in your first aid kit.