Emergency Care

There is nothing like the sight of an injured animal to make your heart beat faster. Our veterinarians understand this. We always have a veterinarian on call to provide emergency services 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. If you are not sure if your horse/sheep/goat/camelid needs to be seen urgently, please call to the emergency line 978-300-2552 to ring through to the doctor on call. We are happy to discuss your horse’s situation and help determine if a visit is needed. Please note that emergency service is offered only to current, active clients of McGee Equine Clinic. An additional emergency fee will apply to all after hours and weekend emergency calls.

Here are some tips for things that you can do after calling us, while waiting on our arrival:

1. Deep wounds near a joint or tendon
• Move horse to a clean location if he/she is stable.
• Apply a sterile bandage over the wound to decrease exposure to contaminants.
• Be careful not to introduce dirt or hair into the wound.
2. Puncture wounds to the hoof or coronary band
Do not remove the object if at all possible, so we can assess the depth and direction of penetration. This is critical to evaluate which important structures may have been involved.
3. Lacerations or wounds that are bleeding in a steady stream without slowing
• Apply steady, firm pressure over the wound using sterile gauze or clean towels.
• Do not remove dressing if it becomes saturated; simply add more layers.
4. Sudden onset of severe lameness or reluctance to move
• Do not ask horse to move any more than necessary.
5. Signs of eye pain or injuries involving the eyelid or cornea
• Signs of eye pain include squinting, increased tear production, eyelid swelling, and white or blue haze to cornea
• Do not flush or use any eye ointments until we examines the eye – some ointments should not be used with certain eye conditions.
6. Colic or acute diarrhea (Any colic can be serious and potentially life-threatening.)
• Remove food and hay. Water is OK.
• Allow horse to rest quietly unless trying to roll. If attempting to roll, hand-walk at a steady pace.
• Please DO NOT GIVE BANAMINE without speaking to the on call doctor.
7. Fever (rectal temperature over 101.5° F)
• Often the first sign of a fever is reluctance to eat – take the temperature of any inappetant horse BEFORE giving any medications.
• Remove food and hay. Water is OK.
8. Choke (esophageal obstruction)
• Remove food, hay AND water.
• DO NOT attempt to flush the esophagus yourself – this can cause aspiration pneumonia.
9. Steady bleeding from the nose
• Keep horse as quiet and calm as possible.
• Raise hay and water to keep head elevated.
10. Difficult delivery of a foal
• Call us immediately if the foal is not delivered within 15 minutes of onset of contractions.
• Do not attempt to pull the foal yourself.
11. Other true emergencies: respiratory distress, allergic reaction and neurologic signs (incoordination, sudden change in behavior, etc.)
• Keep horse calm and quiet in a cool, safe location.
When in doubt – call us! We can often help you sort out a true emergency from a less urgent one over the phone, and give further recommendations for treatments while you wait for our arrival.