It is important to remember that you know your animal better than anyone else.
If you suspect your horse is having an emergency, you are probably correct, and it should be immediately examined by a veterinarian.
Signs of an emergency
- Non-weight-bearing lameness
- Acute abdominal pain (indicated by rolling, sweating, looking at abdomen, kicking at the abdomen, etc.)
- Watery diarrhea
- Collapse, uncharacteristic recumbency
- Seizure, convulsion
- Abdominal distention
- Inability or difficulty urinating or defecating
- Choking (can’t swallow — food and saliva being regurgitated)
- Breathing difficulty
- Abnormal breathing sounds
- Not eating or drinking
- Wounds that are deep or large
- Uncharacteristic aggression, biting
- Foals that are not nursing or are having trouble standing
- Significant trauma, including wire or metal lacerations, or puncture wounds from any source including projectiles (e.g., bullet, arrow)
- Ophthalmic conditions that result in squinting, excessive tear production, or excessive swelling or injury to the eyelids
In an emergency: Please have your horse seen by your veterinarian or bring it to the Veterinary Health Center as soon as possible.
If your veterinarian feels that your horse would benefit from hospitalization, advanced diagnostics, or surgery, they may refer you to the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center – Equine Hospital. A referral is not required for treatment at the VHC. If you have a concern about your horse, you may also contact us directly. To enable our veterinary team to prepare for your arrival, it is critical to call before bringing your horse to the VHC.
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
What to expect when you arrive at the VHC
- Enter the fenced parking lot on the south side of Clydesdale Hall by the drive-through gate access on Cattle Drive.
- Check in with the receptionist during regular hours, or call on the emergency telephone at the entrance if no receptionist is present.
- A veterinary professional will come to help you move your horse from the trailer and into the hospital. A quick assessment will be performed to determine any immediate needs. Any animal that is unstable will be evaluated by the emergency veterinarian immediately. Similar to an emergency room for people, we triage the most critical patients to be seen in order of medical priority.
- After your horse has been assessed, a member of the veterinary team will talk with you about our initial findings and plans for further evaluation and treatment.
- The veterinarian on duty will discuss a diagnostic and treatment plan for your horse. Costs associated with planned testing and treatments will be estimated and discussed with you. We understand that many factors may need to be considered, and we will only proceed with your permission.
- We try our best to provide rapid service, but because emergencies are unpredictable and the emergency service can be very busy, there may be some delays for patients with less critical problems.
- There is an after-hours emergency fee of $420 in addition to routine fees associated with patient evaluation. The attending veterinarian will provide a written estimate of the costs associated with additional services.
- Costs associated with hospitalized care vary based on the nature of the presenting complaint, diagnostic tests and the nature and extent of treatment provided.