What First Aid Should All Horse Owners Know?

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Horse Owners

When I think about this one, because there’s all levels of horse owners there’s the person who just is getting their first horse and maybe they have no horse background and then there’s the person who’s owned a lot of horses their whole life and they’re like a vet tech, and they’ve just done everything. So there’s this huge range of skills and knowledge. Based on that, there is no one answer, every horse owner must know A, B and C. So I think the better way to think about this is– the first thing you should have is the phone number of the closest veterinarian. The first thing you should know is you don’t know everything and when anything happens, you call the vet and the vet will help you work through, is this an emergency that I have to drop everything and come out right now?

Is this an emergency, but it can wait till I can squeeze into my schedule, maybe later today? Or based on what I know about you, is this still serious, but you can handle the first stages on your own and maybe call me back tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes? So your vet, once they know you, can help you work through this, can help you triage it so that’s really, really important. But in order to even help your vet decide what is an emergency and what’s not, you have to know normal. You cannot know abnormal until you know normal. So that knows how to take TPR, which we have videos and articles about if you need help with that and that acronym stands for? Temperature, pulse, and respiration I have a new acronym for you. it’s called EDUD. Eating, drinking, urinating, defecating? You have to know what’s normal for your horse. If he normally eats his hay first and then his grain, which is not the usual way that horses do it. But if that’s the way your horse does it, great. If he doesn’t eat his grain for two hours, fine.

But if your horse is one that eats his grain like come on grain, and then he doesn’t eat it, then maybe that horse is showing you that you know what, I don’t feel so great. It’s an early sign maybe of colic. Body condition, scoring, weight taping, all these things that don’t sound like first aid and emergency but if you don’t know what’s normal for your horse, then you can’t tell when your horse is not right and that the vet needs to be called or that you need to even do something so standing away from the herd, standing with the head down, different behavior. All those kind of things and then the next section is, don’t have anything in your first aid kit which we’ve covered that, I think, in a different one. That you don’t know how to use and so that goes back to the first part. If you’re a total beginner, then maybe all you have in your first aid kit is like wraps and bandages and gauze and things that you really can’t hurt anything with. However, if you’re more experienced, you’ve owned a horse all your life, if you’ve done a lot of stuff, maybe then you have syringes and needles and maybe your vet leaves some prescription medication. But don’t have anything that you don’t know what to do with.

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