Emergencies will always take priority over any non-emergency call and we always have vets available in order to respond quickly without too much disruption to existing calls. A standard visit fee is applied to emergency visits during normal office hours.
Out of office hours, a standard Out Of Hours charge is applied to all visits.
During normal office hours an equine receptionist is always available to help you and arrange for a veterinary surgeon to visit.
Outside of our opening hours please call your normal surgery number and your call will be answered by our out of hours emergency team who will listen carefully and take your details; a vet will then call you back.
Emergency Veterinary Surgeons
Please do call the vet if you are concerned in any way about your horse. We are always more than happy to discuss your horse’s condition over the telephone and to assist you in deciding whether or not your horse requires a visit.
Please remember that some apparently insignificant wounds or sore eyes can result in permanent injury or even death. Your call, no matter how trivial it may seem is welcomed. If in doubt please ask.
It is a good idea to keep the veterinary clinic number on your phone and at the stables to save time in an emergency situation. If your horse is at livery we recommend making sure the livery yard manager has your horse’s vets contact number.
What is an emergency and what should I do before the vet arrives?
Signs: Trouble breathing, increased rate or effort of breathing, may hear wheezing, flaring of nostrils. A line of abdominal muscles called the ‘heaves line’ may be visible (see picture) and the horse may have a nasal discharge.
What to do: Move the horse into an area that facilitates breathing easily, ie outside.
Signs: Stretching neck, repeated attempts to swallow. Saliva and/or food coming from the nose, distress.
What to do: Remove all food and water and try and keep the horse as calm as possible.
Signs: Horse uncomfortable due to abdominal pain; looking at flanks, kicking belly, pawing ground, sweating, lying down, rolling.
What to do: Remove food, encourage horse to stand but do not force it to walk if it does not want to. If possible, move to a stable with a deep bed.
Signs: Horse found down in stable/field, collapsed on exercise or slips / falls down.
What to do: If the horse collapses during exercise, try to loosen tack if possible. If the horse has collapsed on a hard area and is unable to stand, try and support the horse with bedding/rugs.
Signs: Discharge/excessive tears from eye, swollen eyelid, unable to open eye. Spots/white film over eye. Red/inflamed eye or lids.
What to do: Ideally keep the horse stabled in a subdued lit stable and do not apply any ointments until the vet has been.
Signs: If the foal’s feet are visible but it has not been born within 7 minutes, or the mare is straining unproductively for more than 15 minutes
What to do: Please contact us without delay.
Signs: Reluctant to move, not able to take weight on one or more limbs, lies down. Uncomfortable standing, frequently alternates feet, stands with forelegs in front of body in an attempt to shift weight to relieve pain in the front feet (see picture). Shortened strides, muscular stiffness over loins/quarters.
What to do: Keep the horse still, ideally in a well bedded stable.
Signs: Wounds/injuries that require emergency treatment include any wound with arterial bleeding (pulsing), a deep wound over a joint or a wound causing severe lameness.
What to do: In the event of profuse bleeding, apply pressure over the source of the blood. This should be done with a clean dry cloth, fold the cloth several times on itself to create a thick pad and apply to the bleeding wound, secure with a stretchy tape such as Vet Wrap. You can slow down the bleeding considerably using this method. It is recommended not to apply any creams/sprays to a wound until the vet has seen it, in case it requires sutures.