Accidental Hypothermia In Horses

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With the horrifically cold temperatures all over the United States this week, I wanted to focus on the prevalence and problems associated with accidental hypothermia. Two examples took place this week in the United Kingdom and here in the United States

A condition that can occur in any animal (horse, dog, cow, human) that is exposed to hypothermic conditions (for example, falling into a mud hole or pond, or getting trapped in something while it’s raining). Rewarming of the hypothermic victim should only be performed by personnel who have a clear understanding of the adverse effects of improper rewarming. The hypothermic horse may die due to improper handling during the extrication and/or rewarming procedures. Arrhythmia/ventricular fibrillation can occur as a result of rough handling during rescue even under mild hypothermia. This is also known as “post-rescue collapse” or “re-warming shock” and should be carefully evaluated by the veterinarian

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Written by:

Rebecca Gimenez Husted, BS, PhD, is the primary instructor and president of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. Her first book, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, was published in 2008. She is an internationally sought instructor in technical rescue techniques, procedures, and methodologies, and she has published numerous critiques, articles and journal submissions on horse safety, technical large animal rescue and horse handling issues.

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