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Sometimes you just aren't sure of the best times scale in which to have a vet. During working hours just give us a call on 01342 300008 and we can help advise you. Of course outside of normal working hours things can become a little more tricky. Rest assured our highly experienced, practical and capable veterinary team are always available for advice on the phone 24/7, 365 days a year. 

As a guideline we have listed a few of the reasons that lead to an owner contacting us for advice or a visit and tried to suggest a reasonable time scale as well as some tips for you in how best to manage the situation. Naturally, we always recommend you contact us for a visit or further advise if you are concerned.

Priority conditions

Require immediate attention
  • Colic
Colic literally mean belly ache. Horses have only a limited way in which they can express pain and common signs include pacing, frequent weight shifting, frequent but unsuccessful attempts to urinate, pawing, rolling, flank watch, tooth grinding, inappetence amongst others. Not all of these signs are consistent with abdominal pain (true colic); however, without veterinary examination it may be impossible to identify what is going on. In light of that, we recommend if you see any of the above signs you ring for veterinary attention immediately
Tips for management:
Your priority is trying to keep the horse settled, or from causing itself further injury. It is very important you do not put yourself in harms way at any time. Remove any food and water. If it safe to do so you may choose to walk the horse to act as a distraction from the discomfort; however if the horse is distressed, or already settled, it is best to leave them alone in a safe area - stable, menage or even field if necessary.
  • Non-weight bearing lame
This degree of lameness originates from severe pain, so that the horse is totally unable to bear weight at any time. Horses will often rest the limb by toe touching the ground only at rest, frequently lifting the leg and then replacing it again. When asked to move, they will throw their weight back and hop, keeping the affected limb off the ground completely. Possible causes of this degree of lameness include fractures, joint infections and foot abscesses.
Tips for management: The best thing in these cases is to keep the horse calm and still. If you are able to slowly move the horse from a field to the yard, either waking or by trailer, that is helpful; however, if you can't then wait for us to arrive. 
  • Acute respiratory distress
Severe breathing difficulties do require urgent attention. Most commonly this occurs in horses with pre-existing equine asthma, but other more unusual conditions could result in similar difficulties, all of which require rapid treatment. 
Tips for management: Speaking to the vet is important as they will ascertain the most likely underlying cause and degree of urgency. Take any food away until we arrive and allow the horse to stand with the neck extended if that is more comfortable for them. 
  • Eye conditions
As a rule of thumb any injury affecting the eyelids or eye itself we would recommend contacting us as a priority. we may suggest you send us a photo in the first instance but to be on the safe side arranging a visit is prudent. Eye injury and disease is often very painful for the horse so 
Tips for management: As before, speaking to the vet is important as they will ascertain the most likely underlying cause and degree of urgency. Ideally pop the horse in a darkened stable until the vet arrives. 

Important conditions

Require same day attention
  • Wounds
Wounds can come in all shapes and sizes, but appearance is not the best way to determine severity. Small wounds can be just a sinister as large ones. Providing the horse is not severely lame, there is no profuse bleeding and it is not near a vital structure; horses need to be seen within six hours ideally. This is definitely something to ring the vet about and we will ask questions to make a more informed decision with you.  
Tips for management:
 Clean the area with dilute hibiscrub to remove gross contamination. Cold hosing the area for around 20 minutes will help to reduce swelling and may be helpful. If the wound is on a limb and you have the ability to do, apply a light dressing to prevent further contamination. Do not administer any drugs prior to speaking with a vet

  • Choke
This condition can be very distressing for owners to witness; however, it often clears spontaneously within 30 minutes. Although choke has a rather unfortunate name, the blockage (food) is within the gullet not the airway. Despite the profuse nasal discharge of saliva and food, which may also come from the mouth, horses are able to breathe. If the blockage does not clear, or the horse is distressed then call for help.   
Tips for management:
 Take away all food and water. If you can feel a lump in the underside of the neck, gentle massage can sometimes help. Horses will often have their neck extended and encouraging a low head position is also useful.  

Non-urgent conditions

Conditions that can wait until the next working day
  • Coughs
A coughing horse would not generally require urgent veterinary attention. However, if your horse has recently travelled long distance and is showing respiratory distress, or your horse is showing signs of being outwardly ill, e.g. increased temperature, increased respiratory effort, anorexia, distress etc., please call us for further advice.
    • Skin disease
    Most skin diseases take several days to appear and do not constitute emergencies. Obviously, if for some reason your horse is intensely itchy and causing ongoing trauma to the skin but chewing or rubbing, or has suddenly developed a rash/lumpy skin (urticaria), please ring for further advice.

    Our Location

    Lingfield Equine Vets is situated in the beautiful Surrey Hills area. We are located just north of Felbridge on the A22 with easy access for all equine transport vehicles.

    Contact Us Today
    Lingfield Equine Vets
    Chester Lodge, Woodcock Hill,
    Felbridge, Surrey,
    RH19 2RD
    (01342) 300008