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Please pull out and keep for future reference

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Be prepared

Safety first:

prioritise your own safety.

Get help

Be calm:

assess the situation and form

a plan

Call your vet:

you can get good advice over

the phone prior to the vet’s arrival

Stay alert:

consider the whole picture

First aid kit

Phone numbers

Knowing what is normal

Identifying emergency situations

Have a plan - e.g. if transport


Insurance/method of payment

Latex Gloves

Sharp Scissors

Rectal Thermometer


Surgical scrub solution e.g.


Bandage materials - cotton wool,

vet wrap, gauze wrap and

poultice material. These items

should be sterile.

In an emergency:


Useful items:

Always keep tetanus vaccinations up to date

Beth Lawrence BVSc MRCVS

Belmont Farm and Equine Vets

Horses have an instinctive fight or flight response which makes them prone to injury. They are also herd

animals that operate a social hierarchy that can lead to dominance fights and if that is not enough, their

often curious nature can get them into trouble. The most common equine emergencies we deal with are

wounds, but there are many types of emergencies requiring immediate attention. Owners should be able

to recognise emergency situations and take the correct action whilst waiting for your vet.

Pull Out and Keep

What is normal?


It is important to know what is normal for your horse in terms of the vital signs. These should be taken when your horse is at rest:

Pulse rate: 25-42 beats per minute (ponies tend to be higher).

Respiratory rate: 12-20 breaths per minute.

Temperature: 37.2-38.3°C.

Capillary refill time: less than 2 seconds. This is the time it takes for the colour to return to the gums after touching them lightly

with your finger.

Equine emergencies