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Equine Emergency! Injury with Profuse Bleeding

What to do until the vet comes if your horse sustains an injury with profuse bleeding.

Equine Emergency! What to Do Till the Vet Arrives
There's nothing more scary than finding your horse has been injured and is bleeding profusely.

Bleeding can be arterial or venous, that is, bleeding from an artery or a vein. If an artery has been cut, the blood will be a bright red color and will spurt from the wound in rhythm with the horse's pulse. Bleeding from the vein tends to be a darker red and ooze from the wound, rather than spurt.

Whether the bleeding is arterial or venous, if there is enough loss of blood, the horse may go into shock, so getting the bleeding stopped is of the utmost importance.

What to do

  • The first thing to do is NOT to panic. The calmer you are, the calmer your horse will be.
  • Gather your horse's vital signs and other information to give to the vet.
  • Call the vet, using your cell phone, or have someone stay with the horse to prevent him moving while you go and call the vet.
  • If possible, move the horse quietly back to his stall.
  • If you've got sterile padding available, pack some together and hold it against the wound to stem the flow of blood. Don't keep looking under it to see if the bleeding has stopped, but if it becomes completely soaked in blood add more padding on top of the soiled.
  • If you don't have sterile padding, towels will work in a pinch--use whatever you have available.
  • Wait with the horse and reassure him till the vet arrives.
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