When the fireworks get too hot to handle you’ll be happy that you have an animal emergency plan in place. It’s 2020 after all and no better time to get up to speed on preparing for the unexpected. We may be feeling a little overwhelmed by crisis right now so it’s more important than ever to understand that we are not helpless in the face of calamity. By maintaining optimal health and wellness in yourself and your animals you CAN mitigate the impacts of both a personal health emergency and a global pandemic. A solid wellness routine attending to vaccination, deworming, dentistry, nutrition and exercise is a valuable insurance policy. Having plans in place for the most predictable of emergencies will help reduce stress levels, allowing you to make good judgements and move quickly toward resolving problems.
There are many types of emergencies. Obvious, big “D”, disasters include; fire, flood, wind, earthquake. When formulating an emergency preparedness plan for a regional disaster ask yourself these questions;
Do you have a fire extinguisher? access to high pressure water source?
What if you need to evacuate, do you have the means?
Will you be able to load your animals into a trailer?
Who can you call for help?
Where will you go, what are the options?
Are your animals identifiable if they get loose or lost?
If your animals do not live at home, can care givers contact you?
Fencing failure (loose animals), colic, disease or physical trauma can also be disastrous. When it comes to recognizing health problems in your animals the first and arguably the best tool is paying attention to details. Know each particular animal’s routines, habits and dispositions so you’ll know when they stray from normal. Pay attention to water & feed intake. Notice whether or not you are shoveling the usual quantity & consistency of manure. Trust your instincts, if you have an uneasy feeling that your horse is ADR (ain't doin' right) don't pretend you can wishful think it away. Many potential health emergencies can be stopped in their tracks by early recognition and treatment, especially GI disturbance and eye injury or disease.
Learn how to recognize and triage common emergency situations.
Do you know what normal equine vital signs should be and what is normal for your particular horse? (Find them
Do you know how to measure heart and respiratory rates?
Do you know how and where to listen for GI motility?
Do you know basic first aid and how to apply it?
Do you know when to call your vet and how to communicate effectively with your veterinary health care team?
A cool head is your most valuable asset in an emergency. Take a moment to step back and assess the situation, is everyone safe? Can you implement basic first aid? (Calm yourself and the animal, apply pressure to bleeding wounds, move to a safe location.) Before calling Rocky Bay Equine, take a breath so you can speak slowly and clearly. Tell us your name, a telephone number where you can be reached, where your animal is located and the nature of the emergency. The better you can explain the problem the easier it will be for Dr. Weeks to advise you about what to do until he arrives. If you reach voicemail, be sure to leave one or more contact numbers (don’t rely on caller ID). Then stay off your phone so the doctor can contact you.
Be prepared with an emergency gear stash in a trunk or box with extra halter, lead, snaps, buckets, duct tape, shovel, flashlight, fire extinguisher etc. An emergency medical kit is also a worthwhile investment for the every day, small “d” disasters that occur at home and also while traveling. RBE has put together an affordable MedKit that will get you started with the basics. The kit contains a stethoscope, digital thermometer, irrigation syringe, gloves, scrub brush, bandage material, scissors, flashlight, antibiotic ointment and a handy poster of equine normal vital parameters all in a plastic box that will easily pack into your trailer for that next trail ride, show or event.
You can score a RBE Emergency Starter Kit at 10% off during the month of July
. Kits will be put together as they are ordered, so don’t delay! If you'd rather do it yourself, here's a handy
list of supplies
to consider in designing your own first aid kit.
Each of you will have unique circumstances when it comes to emergency planning. Don’t hesitate to ask, we are happy to help you prepare for contingencies. There are also many online resources to help with disaster & emergency planning, here are a few links;