Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Triaging Acute Equine Neurologic Emergencies

One veterinarian reviewed the steps in triaging acute equine neurologic emergencies in the field.

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Triaging Acute Equine Neurologic Emergencies
If a gait evaluation can be carried out Munsterman said veterinarians should observe the horse circling, backing, and going up and down hills or curbs; any deviations from normal should be noted here, as well. | Photo: Stephanie L. Church/The Horse

A horse owner’s day can go from great to horrific in a matter of seconds if he or she arrives at the barn to find their charge either staggering around the field or completely unable to rise. A prompt call to the veterinarian is warranted in these scenarios, but what should an owner expect when the veterinarian arrives?

Amelia S. Munsterman, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, a clinical lecturer in equine emergency and critical care at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, reviewed the steps in triaging acute neurologic emergencies at the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev.

“Neurologic emergencies are a challenge for the veterinarian as well as the horse owner,” Munsterman said. She noted several diagnostic hurdles veterinarians typically encounter when dealing with an acutely neurologic

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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