McKinlay & Peters Equine Hospital believes that client education plays a key role in caring for horses.
Each year we host our Equine Education Day for all interested horse owners. We offer a variety of Educational presentations by our doctors and by guest speakers on various topics of interest as well as new technologies in veterinary care. Announcement of this event will take place via email. Please call our office for more information on our Equine Education Day or to sign up for our email list. (509) 928-6734 (MPEH) or (509) 238-4959. A monthly newsletter is sent out to those who subscribe. Our newsletters contain current health care tips and information as well as up-to-date notifications of happenings in the equine world. Our Doctors are also available to speak at horse club and organization meetings to provide further education on a variety of equine health care topics. If you are interested in having one or more of our Doctors speak with your group, please call our office to schedule that event.
Equine Vital Signs
|Temperature||99.5° – 101.5° F|
|Heart Rate||32 – 44 beats/min.|
|Respiratory Rate||6 – 16 breaths/min|
|Mucous Membranes||Pale pink & moist|
|Capillary Refill Time||1 – 2 seconds|
|Gut Sounds||Always Present|
Foals (within 10 min. of birth)
|Temperature||99° -102° F|
|Heart Rate||< 60 beats/min|
Foals (within about 12 hours of age)
|Temperature||99° -102° F|
|Heart Rate||100-200 beats/min|
Equine emergencies can happen at any time, anywhere and there may not always be a veterinarian immediately available. At MPEH, we’d like to help you be prepared to handle emergency situations. The following guidelines will help you to provide basic first-aid to your horse in several scenerios, until one of our doctors can arrive to assist you. In any situation where your horse is injured or ill, please call our office 509-928-6734 (MPEH) as soon as you can. Our veterinarians are available for emergency care 24 hours a day/seven days-a-week. Before any emergency situation arises with your horse – you should already know what the normal/resting heart rate, respiration rate and temperature is for your horse. Please click on our Equine Vital Signs Tab for further information.
Colic – Please see our Colic section
If there is active bleeding – spurting or pulsing blood, stop it by applying a pressure wrap. First, apply a non-stick bandage to the wound, cover the bandage & limb with sheet cotton and then wrap tightly with vetrap. If a wound is not actively bleeding, wash it gently with betadine scrub and rinse with dilute betadine solution. (1 part solution to 20 parts water.) (Some bleeding is normal and expected, particularly if you are washing the wound.) If you do not have bandaging materials available, clean towels, new diapers, and/or sanitary pads can be used. Athletic or duct tape can be used to hold these in place until the doctor arrives. Do not apply any medications to the wound until the veterinarian has examined it.
If your horse has impaled himself with a sharp object and it is still there – do not remove it! Keep the horse calm and wait for the veterinarian to arrive! If there is just a puncture, (no object), run cold water over it to clean it out. This is also true if a nail is found protruding from anywhere on the hoof. Do not remove it until the veterinarian arrives! Do not apply any medications to the wound until the veterinarian has examined it.
One of the things we all love about horses is their big beautiful eyes. Unfortunately, because their eyes are big, are located on the side of their face and protrude out, they frequently sustain injuries. Any eye injury should be considered an emergency. Lacerations to the lids can usually be sutured and returned to full function. This must be done within the first couple of hours after the injury. The lids are very thin and the tissue dries out very quickly. Promptly addressing these lacerations is imperative for optimal results. Corneal injuries are also very common. Often these result in corneal ulcers which can result in complete loss of the eye within 48 hours if aggressive treatment is not instituted. Finally inflammation of the tissues around the eye, known as conjunctivitis, is also very frequent. This creates significant discomfort to the horse. Imagine how a grain of sand feels in your eye. We consider any abnormality to the eye or surrounding tissues to be a true emergency and recommend you call immediately.
Basic Emergency First Aid Kit
|Bute or Banamine Paste||4×4 Gauze|
|Opthalmic Antibiotic Ointment||Non-stick Bandage (Telfa)|
|Betadine scrub & Solution*||Sheet Cotton|
|Triple Antibiotic Ointment||White tape (Athletic) or Elastikon|
|Sterile Saline||Bandage Scissors|
|(*Dilute 1 part Solution w/20 parts water before using.)|
Colic accounts for the majority of emergency calls we receive. Colic is a general term referring to abdominal pain. Colic symptoms range from horses being off feed, agitated and uncomfortable to violent and relentless thrashing and rolling. Evidence of any such signs should merit a prompt call to veterinarian. Colic can be caused from intestinal gas pain, indigestion, blockage or impaction of feed in the intestine, intestinal displacement, entrapment or twisting of a section of intestine. There are also other causes. Colic which starts out mild and simple may progress to a serious and life threatening problem if not seen promptly and properly. As veterinarians our role is to assess the level of pain and gather information to search for its origin. This is begun by careful gathering of vital signs, a thorough discussion of the horse’s history and often transrectal palpation of the abdomen. Colic care often involves medication, nasogastric intubation and drenching, analysis of abdominal fluid, ultrasonography, blood work, hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy. Preventing colic is accomplished by a number of means, most having to do with good husbandry. Regular and consistent feeding times, consistency of feed quality and quantity, exercise, ready access to clean fresh water, routine and proper dental care, and regular anti-parasitic treatment are all part of successful management. Your particular circumstance may necessitate other means. Your horse may be exhibiting some of these symptoms if he is experiencing a bout with colic: Depressed, rolling, kicking and/or biting at their belly, restless, may or may not be off their feed. If they are rolling, it is best to keep them on their feet by quietly hand walking them. If they are lying quietly, let them rest. Remove any sources of feed: mangers, pasture, etc. Have they recently passed any manure? If so, is it normal, dry or runny? Take their vital signs – heart rate, respiration rate, temperature and take a peek at their gums – color & moistness. Check their capillary refill time by pressing your finger into the gum above their incisors and note how long it takes to pink back up. Do not give any pain medication until you have talked with the veterinarian. It is our goal to respond to colic pain promptly and properly. If this course is followed we have the best chance of avoiding serious problems and of returning your horse to its normal happy existence and work!