Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Obvious Stumbling or Tripping, Even when Not Under Saddle

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

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

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

  • If the horse has no appetite and is obviously depressed.
  • If this problem seems severe and has come on suddenly.
  • If you notice apparent wobbliness or weakness, in addition to this sign.
  • 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.

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If this seems mild or occasional and the horse seems normal otherwise.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Frequent tripping or stumbling when not ridden is rare. It is usually associated with severe neurologic disease, or any end-stage body-wide disease. Non weight bearing lameness or sudden blindness might rarely appear this way. Horses with conformation or chronic lameness causing the flight of the hooves to be near to the ground tend to trip more.

WHAT TO DO

If the problem is mild, you may assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) and share your findings and concerns with your vet.

However, if the problem is severe and you fear the horse may suddenly fall, call your vet immediately and do not handle the horse until your vet arrives. If possible, move the horse in a stall with secure fences or walls, on even footing. You may consider treating the horse as potentially contagious until your vet advises you otherwise.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet institutes emergency treatment while simultaneously evaluating general health and especially neurologic function.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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