Tuesdays with Tony
It’s 6 pm on Saturday night, you go to feed your horses and notice one of them isn’t interested in dinner. You realize he’s colicking. You remember you have some Banamine on hand, so you give your horse a dose orally because you remember you’re NEVER supposed to give it in the muscle. Then you think you recall someone somewhere once said it is good to walk a colicky horse, so you walk you horse for an hour and he still isn’t better. So now what do you? You call your regular vet. Maybe he/she doesn’t answer, so you wait for a call back all the while your horse becomes increasingly painful. Your regular vet doesn’t get back to you despite your numerous calls and multiple text messages.
Now you’re very scared, so you go to the Google and search for emergency equine veterinarians in your area. Your search reveals my clinic has an emergency line, so you call it. Guess what, one of my docs answers! What a huge weight off your shoulders: someone to help you with your horse. You talk to one of my docs and they recommend your horse be seen as soon as possible. At this point it is already 9 pm and by the time my docs get to you and your horse it will be 10 pm and your horse has been colicking for 4 hours. My doc gets there and treats your horse, and luckily, this time, your horse is going to be ok. I am here to tell you that waiting that long to call my docs could have easily ended with your horse in the clinic, or worse.
You might be wondering, when is the right time to call Springhill Equine? The simple answer is, if you are concerned, DON’T WAIT, CALL US! The best thing about my clinic and my docs is that we have a phone line set up specifically for emergencies. That means you can call it 24/7/365 and always get one of my docs on the line. They may not answer right away since they are often busy with other patients, but I assure you, if you call and leave them a message, they will call you back as soon as they are able.
When to call
As I so eloquently described in the above scenario, colic is always considered an emergency. Prior to giving your horse any medications, you should always call my docs. They will have you describe what your horse is doing to rule out any other possible problems. They may or may not recommend you administering bute or banamine to your horse if you have it. They will also instruct you to NOT walk you horse. For the love of cat, please listen to them and DO NOT WALK YOUR HORSE! Can you imagine having an upset stomach and someone making you walk around in circles for hours? All it’s going to do is dehydrate you more, cause you to be more painful, and make you more upset. Same is true for your poor horse.
If your horse wants to lay down, let him! It’s an old wive’s tale that if they roll, they will twist their gut. Listen to this old cat, I’ve seen my fair share of horses who have been walked for hours, and all it does is make for exhausted horses and exhausted owners. Let me tell you, exhausted owners are emotional roller coasters and have a difficult time making life or death decisions for their horse. Do your horse and yourself a favor and let him lay down.
Once my docs talk to you, they may feel it’s safe to allow the medication time to kick in before they come out. Just because you call them does not mean they will be able to rush right out though, so DON’T WAIT, CALL US! Nothing bad ever happened from calling too early. Calling too late, on the other paw… Enough said.
I know that by now you have read my blog and seen my seminars. So, you know eyes are always considered an emergency. Let’s say you notice something is wrong with your horse’s eye. So, what do you do? DON’T WAIT, CALL US! The cool thing about technology is, when you call my docs and tell them you have a horse with an eye issue, they are going to tell you to send them a picture of the situation. Yes, my emergency line even receives text messages. I am such a hip cat; I have all the tech things. Anyway, this will allow my docs to assess the severity of the situation and decide if your horse needs to be seen on emergency or can wait for a normal weekday appointment. It also allows them to direct you in medication administration and how to properly secure you horse to protect him from further injury.
Let’s say you’ve been slacking and haven’t kept up with my blog or been to my seminars. You notice your horse is squinting, has some discharge, or has cut his eye lid. You think, eh no big deal, I have some old meds, I’ll just put this in his eye for a few days and he will be ok. Then, two days later, your horse can’t even open his eye. When you pry his eye lids apart you notice what looks like a giant booger in your horse’s eye, but it’s not his typical eye booger. No, this time it seems like it’s attached to his cornea, and wow, is he painful! You decide it’s finally time to have the docs out. They tell you that your horse has a melting corneal ulcer and it’s going to cost boo koo bucks to treat, or your horse is going to lose his eye.
If you ask the doc what you could have done differently, they are going to tell you: Next time, DON’T WAIT, CALL US!
As you all know, horses have little self-preservation instinct and try to injure themselves on a daily basis (unlike us cats, who avoid dangerous situations by sleeping all day). Typically, horses like to injure themselves on the weekends or holidays. Maybe your horse has a big laceration and is bleeding, or maybe he has come up very lame and cannot put his foot down. Maybe you’re not really sure if that scrape on his side is something that needs immediate attention or if it can wait. You know what? That’s ok! It’s okay to not know, that’s why you have my emergency number on speed dial. DON’T WAIT, CALL US! (Sensing a pattern here yet?)
One of the docs will assess the urgency of the situation and head your direction to help stop the bleeding, or come prepared with our x-ray equipment in tow to figure out exactly why your horse won’t put his foot down. Or maybe they’ll see the picture of the scrape you sent and tell you to wash it with mild soap, apply some topical ointment (I prefer KineticVet IBH or CK Salve) on the wound and monitor it. The good news is, if you call them, they will quickly assess the situation and help you make the best decision for you and your horse.
If you wait, and don’t call, everything gets harder and potentially more expensive. Your horse might have a broken bone and if you wait, he might be in severe pain for days before my docs see him. Worse, he might develop laminitis in his other legs since he can’t bear weight on all 4 limbs, or he might develop an infection in a wound that now has to be treated with oral antibiotics. All of which could have been prevented if you didn’t wait. Remember, DON’T WAIT, CALL US!
Emergencies happen all the time. Sometimes they are no big deal, and sometimes they are life threatening. The moral of the story is, if you think you have an emergency, even if you’ve been through it a million times, DON’T WAIT, CALL US! My docs are here for you and will be there to answer your questions, talk you off the ledge, and help you and your horse get back on your feet in no time. Just because you call us, does not mean my docs will have to come out, so if you think you have an emergency, DON’T WAIT, CALL US! It can mean the difference between life and death for your wallet, or more importantly, life or death for your horse.
Until next week,
P.S. Since we’re talking about emergencies, there’s a book coming out this week that you should get. It’s called Adventures of the Horse Doctor’s Husband. You guessed it, it’s by Dr. Lacher’s husband, Justin B. Long. There’s a banner for it right down below here, so click on it. You can read all about horse emergencies, and more importantly, cats. I’m pretty sure he wrote all about me in the book. He better have. I haven’t had time to read it yet, what with my nap schedule, but I hear it’s a #1 best seller on Amazon. You can even get him to sign your copy at a seminar, or at my Annual Open House coming up on October 19th. That’s a solid tip; you can thank me later.
Tuesdays with Tony is the official blog of Tony the Clinic Cat at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!