Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Kicked or Bitten by other Horse, Witnessed

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If the horse has no appetite and is obviously depressed.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse indicate fever (Temp >101F/38.3C) or heart rate greater than 48 BPM.
  • If there seems to be pain, swelling or lameness.
  • If severe and obvious lameness is visible at the walk.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Occasionally you will actually see your horse sustain major trauma, such as kicks and bites from other horses.

Sometimes horse owners are amazed when they see seemingly severe accidents that result in minimal damage. Other times a seemingly minor misstep can cause severe injury. You can learn a lot within a few minutes of an injury. The most frequently injured areas are the limbs, resulting in lameness.

WHAT TO DO

Obviously, if you know your horse is seriously injured, contact your vet immediately.

Otherwise, take a few minutes to observe the horse. Assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention the the area that you think was injured.

Walk the horse first in a straight line, then a small circle each way. If there is an area that seems injured or swollen, assess it, photograph it and describe it to your vet. You may talk to your vet about giving the horse a dose of NSAID (like phenylbutazone), which might help reduce swelling and pain. Ice may also be helpful.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

If the horse has sustained a significant injury, then your vet may advise that they see the horse to determine its significance. In that case, they will evaluate the specific area(s) of injury and the horse’s general health.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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