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EMERGENCY CALLS – WHAT TO KNOW…
In many of the frequent encountered emergency situations, early communication with your veterinarian will be important in treating your horse appropriately. There is a veterinarian on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year. Even on weekends and holidays there is always a veterinarian “on-call” and with the use of cell phones our ability to respond to emergencies has improved dramatically. Please call the office at 508-278-6511 and ask to speak to the veterinarian on call. However, we rely on you to provide us with information regarding your horse’s condition and may triage with you over the phone. We will use this information to address your horse’s needs in the most efficient and effective manner possible, but we appreciate your understanding that cell phones are only as good as the service they receive and if there is someone to answer the phone at the other end. There may be times we have to finish another emergency or travel long distances before we can reach you.
Information to provide the veterinarian with over the phone:
The horse – Horse’s name, owner, location, – We may ask you for breed, age,breeding dates, history of colic, deworming, vaccination history, recently shod, new hay, new horses in barn, recent work/travel history or other veterinary services.
The problem – What is the exact problem (laceration, colic, lameness, etc.)? How long has it been going on? What are the signs that you are observing? Have these signs changed, gotten better or worse? Has there been any treament (Banamine, bran mash, etc)? What was the effect of the treatment?
How is the horse right now? – Location (standing quietly on cross ties, thrashing, or cast in a stall, etc), (bright, dull, non-responsive), temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and effort, gums (color, wet/dry)? gut sounds, manure production and consistency (dry, wet, diarrhea), nasal discharge (one/both nostril, clear, mucoid, green). If a horse is in acute distress or it is dangerous for you to obtain this information, then please do not put yourself at risk. However, this can be valuable information for everyone if we are prioritizing emergencies and determining if we require additional assistance to be able to help you and your horse.
As with any of our clients, we also ask that a permission from giving us your consent to treat your horse has been signed prior to performing these services. It is especially important during an emergency situation where you the owner may not be reachable or may not even be present during treatment, that the person acting on your behalf has the legal and financial authority to make decisions regarding your horse. At no point should patient care of your horse’s well-being be jeopardized by paperwork and the details, but an emergency can be dealt with more efficiently if these details are taken care of ahead of time.
Remember: educate, prepare, communicate!!