Ask the Vet – What first aid should all horse owners know?


SARAH: “What first aid should
all horse owners know?” Now this is not to be
confused with the question from last month,
what do you think everyone should
know before owning a horse, medically speaking? But this is first aid. And if you’re a horse
owner, what should you know? DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, I’m going
to answer it like last month. SARAH: That’s OK. DR LYDIA GRAY: Because, as I
was preparing for this one, it came up in the voting
and then went down. And came up, and then went down. I’m like – people
make up your mind! SARAH: Your votes count
is what she’s telling you. DR LYDIA GRAY: They do. When I think about this
one, because there’s all levels of horse owners. There’s the person who just
is getting their first horse. And maybe they have
no horse background. And then there’s
the person who’s owned a lot of horses
their whole life and they’re like a vet tech, and
they’ve just done everything. So there’s this huge range
of skills and knowledge. Based on that, there is no
one answer, every horse owner must know A, B and C. So I think the
better way to think about this is–
the first thing you should have is the phone number
of the closest veterinarian. SARAH: The first
thing you should know is you don’t know everything. DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah. And when anything
happens, you call the vet. And the vet will help
you work through, is this an emergency that I have
to drop everything and come out right now? Is this an emergency,
but it can wait till I can squeeze into my
schedule, maybe later today? Or based on what I know about
you, is this still serious, but you can handle the
first stages on your own and maybe call me back tomorrow
and we’ll see how it goes? So your vet, once they know you,
can help you work through this, can help you triage it. So that’s really,
really important. But in order to even help your
vet decide what is an emergency and what’s not, you
have to know normal. You cannot know abnormal
until you know normal. So that’s knowing
how to take TPR, which we have videos and
articles about if you need help with that. SARAH: And that
acronym stands for? DR LYDIA GRAY: Temperature,
pulse, and respiration. I have a new acronym for you. it’s called EDUD. SARAH: Eating, drinking,
urinating, defecating? DR LYDIA GRAY: You got it! SARAH: I love
acronyms, you guys. DR LYDIA GRAY: She
does, she does. You have to know what’s
normal for your horse. If he normally eats his hay
first and then his grain, which is not the usual
way that horses do it. But if that’s the way
your horse does it, great. If he doesn’t eat his
grain for two hours, fine. But if your horse is one
that eats his grain like come on grain, and then
he doesn’t eat it, then maybe that horse is
showing you that you know what, I don’t feel so great. It’s an early sign
maybe of colic. Body condition,
scoring, weight taping, all these things
that don’t sound like first aid and emergency. But if you don’t know what’s
normal for your horse, then you can’t tell when
your horse is not right and that the vet
needs to be called or that you need to
even do something. So standing away from the herd,
standing with the head down, different behavior. All those kind of things. And then the next
section is, don’t have anything in
your first aid kit which we’ve covered that, I
think, in a different one. SARAH: We did. DR LYDIA GRAY: That you
don’t know how to use. And so that goes back
to the first part. If you’re a total
beginner, then maybe all you have in
your first aid kit is like wraps and bandages
and gauze and things that you really can’t
hurt anything with. However, if you’re
more experienced, you’ve owned a
horse all your life, if you’ve done a lot of
stuff, maybe then you have syringes and
needles and maybe your vet leaves some
prescription medication. But don’t have anything that
you don’t know what to do with. It doesn’t really answer her
question the way she wanted, but it was the way I wanted. SARAH: And I think there’s a
lot of other videos and blog information that we have on the
TPR and body condition scoring. The first aid video. And so all of those will be
linked in the description so that you guys
can have a learning adventure if you want more
information on this question.