24/7 Equine Emergency Care
Contact Sound Equine Veterinary Hospital
If you are experiencing an equine emergency, please call us right away.
After business hours and on weekends, your call will be routed to an after-hours emergency service which will page the doctor on call.
Call: (360) 779-5557
Steps To Take In An Emergency
If your horse is experiencing an emergency, try to follow the steps below.
- Stay Calm - Your horse will react to your emotions. Staying calm is essential during an equine emergency.
- Stay Safe - Keep yourself safe at all times. You will not be able to help your horse if you become injured.
- Try to Keep Your Horse Calm - For your horse to feel calm and reassured, it is essential for the people around your horse to also remain calm.
- Move Your Horse to a Safe Area - Move your horse to an area where they are unlikely to cause further harm to themselves.
- Get Help from Others at Your Barn - Delegate responsibilities like calling the vet, holding your horse, and bringing the first aid kit.
- Call Your Veterinarian as Soon as Possible - Provide detailed information about your horse’s condition, including vital signs. Your vet will decide how to proceed based on the information you provide.
- Prepare for the Arrival of the Veterinarian - Make sure you have a place for the veterinarian to park their vehicle as close to the horse as possible. Ensure that there is light, water, and access to power. Provide gate codes and special driving directions if not easily found using GPS.
- Do Not Administer Drugs - Do not administer any drugs to your horse, including tranquilizers or sedatives, without explicit instructions from your vet.
Equine Emergency FAQs
Equine emergency veterinary care involves the treatment of horses in situations that require immediate medical attention or could potentially be life-threatening.
Do I need to trailer my horse in?
It is possible you will need to haul your horse in. Some horses are so sick or injured that they must come into the hospital just as a person could be so sick or injured they would need to go to the hospital. In addition, sometimes the doctor on call will need to remain in the clinic to care for critical patients and need you to haul your horse in to be seen in a timely manner.
During busy times of the year, we may limit field emergencies to established clientele. This is in order to ensure that we can provide quality care for referring veterinarians as well as our loyal clients. We do now have Dr. Youngblood established on the Olympic peninsula in the event of bridge closure.
What is considered an emergency?
Physical injuries are common in horses. While a range of sports injuries can occur during training, curiosity can also lead to serious injuries, such as deep gashes and lacerations. Physical injuries should always be seen by your veterinarian to prevent the injury from becoming infected or more severe. If your horse has had an accident or is experiencing any of these symptoms, bring them to our emergency office straight away.
- Excessive Bleeding
- Swellings, lacerations, and punctures
- Eye injuries
- Acute lameness
- Illness (including fever, loss of appetite, dullness, and diarrhea)
- Problems with pregnancy or foaling difficulties
Signs of gastrointestinal pain (often referred to as colic) can be an indication of anything from constipation to extremely serious intestinal twists or displacements. If your horse companion is showing any of the following symptoms, call us right away for emergency care.
When is SEVH open for emergencies?
We are available 24/7 365 days per year. Please call 360-779-5557.
After regular business hours, you will need to select option one for emergency and leave a message with the answering service. The veterinarian on call will call you back shortly. If you do not receive a call within 15 minutes (sometimes the veterinarian may be out of service, or in a procedure), call the number again, follow the same procedure, and report to the answering service that you did not receive a callback. The service will page the secondary doctor.
Regular Business Hours:
- Monday:09:00 am - 05:00 pm
- Tuesday:09:00 am - 05:00 pm
- Wednesday:09:00 am - 05:00 pm
- Thursday:09:00 am - 05:00 pm
- Friday:09:00 am - 05:00 pm
How can I be prepared for an emergency?
There are a number of things you can do to ensure you are prepared in case your horse has an emergency.
- Keep your veterinarian’s phone number handy and written down by all phones. Be sure to include a card on all stall doors.
- Be prepared to give temperature and other vital signs when calling for help.
- Have access to a trailer or the phone number of a person who does. Be sure all horses can load easily into a trailer.
- Have driving directions to a veterinary hospital.
- Have several friends/volunteers who you can enlist to help. Have those phone numbers handy.
- First aid kit (also kits for a trailer when traveling.)
- Practice taking vital signs and have something to record them on.
What should I have in my horse's first aid kit?
To be truly prepared for any emergency situation that your horse might find itself in, here's what you should have close by:
- Veterinary phone number
- Gauze pads
- Sterile wound dressing (non-adherent pad)
- Roll cotton
- Brown gauze
- Adhesive wrap (Vetwrap, Elastikon)
- Leg wraps
- White tape
- Duct tape
- Hoof pick
- Surgical soap
- Eyewash (or sterile saline)
- Antiseptic solution (Betadine, Chlorhexidine)
- Antibiotic ointment (Nolvasan, Biozide)
- Latex gloves
- Flashlight and spare batteries
What are normal vital signs in horses?
Pulse: 28-44 beats/minute
Temperature: 99.5 – 101.5 °F
Capillary refill time (CRT): 2 seconds or less (press on gum, then count
seconds for color to return.)
Respiration: 12-20 breaths/minute
Mucous membranes/gums: Moist and pink