Equine First Aid Clinic with Kristen Brown, DVM, CVA

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Kristen Brown held an Equine First Aid clinic at Elvenstar. Everyone who attended got an overview of the basic equine emergencies and what to do if they actually happen to our horses. Kristen prepared a power point presentation so we could see pictures of horses that exhibit signs of colic, lacerations, and lameness. Below, I will share some of the information on these topics that I learned from her.

The first topic of discussion was colic. Colic is a pretty well known sickness, and it varies from mild to deathly depending on the case. Some signs of colic are: not wanting to eat, lethargy, pawing, looking/ biting at the stomach area, curling of the upper lip, laying down, rolling/thrashing, and an increase in heart rate. If you think your horse has colic, the best thing you can do is call a vet, explain the situation, and get their advice on what you should do. The vet will most likely come out to see your horse, unless it is a very mild case. Some treatment options include Banamine, which is essentially Advil for horses, a rectal examination, a nasogastric tube, and intravenous fluid therapy. The next step would be figuring out whether surgery is needed or not, and then proceeding with treatment.

Next, we talked about lacerations. Lacerations are cuts or puncture wounds. A laceration is much more serious if it is near a joint. The first thing to do if you find that your horse has a laceration is to see how deep it is. This is good information to tell the vet when you call them. Treatments for lacerations include bute, banamine, antibiotics, flushing the joints, stitches, and bandages. Bandages are very common when handling lacerations. In most cases, horses will heal completely from these types of injuries.

Finally, Kristen discussed the common problem of lameness. In the horse world, you will have to deal with a lame horse many times throughout your life. Lameness is most commonly caused by a fracture in the bone, ligament damage, hoof abscesses, bruises from stepping on things, and working injuries. Most of the times, lameness is treated with compression, icing, and time off. Bone fractures and other major injuries can sometimes require surgery.

After talking to everyone, Kristen and her vet tech headed down to do a hands-on portion. The hands on demonstration and practice on real horses was focused on learning how to take the horse’s vitals. Knowing how to properly take the TPR (temperature, pulse, and respiration) and what the normal range of vitals is for a specific horse can greatly help the veterinarian determine what to do when the horse owner calls with the emergency. Everyone who attended had a great time and learned a lot. On behalf of Elvenstar and all of the attendees, we would like to thank Kristen Brown for taking the time to talk to us.