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.
Following these guidelines may help you prepare for an equine emergency:
1. Keep your veterinarian’s number in your phone, including how the practitioner can be reached after hours.
2. Consult with your regular veterinarian regarding a back-up or referring veterinarian’s number in case you cannot reach your regular veterinarian quickly enough.
3. Know in advance the most direct route to an equine surgery center in case you need to transport the horse.
4. Store the names and phone numbers of nearby friends and neighbors who can assist you in an emergency while you wait for the veterinarian.
5. Prepare a first aid kit (see graphic for a short list of essential items) and store it in a clean, dry, readily accessible place. Make sure that family members and other barn users know where the kit is. Also keep a first aid kit in your horse trailer or towing vehicle, and a pared-down version to carry on the trail.
Many accidents can be prevented by taking the time to evaluate your horse’s environment and removing potential hazards. Mentally rehearse your emergency action plan. In an emergency, time is critical. Don’t be concerned with overreacting or annoying your veterinarian. By acting quickly and promptly, you can minimize the consequences of an injury or illness. For more information about emergency care, ask your equine veterinarian or visit aaep.org.