Colic is a general term referring to any sort of problem with the horse’s gastrointestinal tract. In the majority of cases, horses with signs of colic will resolve with just medical treatment. However, in some cases, emergency surgery is required to correct the twist or entrapment of the intestines.
Foaling season is once again approaching and many pregnant mares have been left out on pasture to eat to their heart’s content over the winter. Often pregnant mares have minimal monitoring throughout most of their pregnancy, but there is a strong case to be made for closer monitoring, especially in mid to late gestation due to the risk of placentitis.
Sugar sustained a major laceration to the front of her carpus during the big snowstorm we had in September 2014. Even though her owner found it the day it happened, there was already a large amount of swelling present as well as a large amount of dirt and contamination in the wound. Initial treatment included intravenous regional limb perfusions with antibiotics, intravenous antibiotics, and bandaging. Because of the large amount of motion present on the front of the carpus, we ultimately decided to use pinch grafts in this wound. Pinch grafts are small 3mm discs of skin, harvested by removing an elevated cone of skin, that are implanted into small slits in the granulation tissue.
If you own horses long enough, sooner or later you are likely to confront a medical emergency. From lacerations to colic to foaling difficulties, there are many emergencies that a horse owner may encounter. You must know how to recognize serious problems and respond promptly, taking appropriate action while awaiting the arrival of your veterinarian.
Preparation is vital when confronted with a medical emergency. No matter the situation you may face, mentally rehearse the steps you will take to avoid letting panic take control. Follow these guidelines from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) to help you prepare for an equine emergency: