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  1. #1
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    Feb. 13, 2006
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    Default horse emergency care

    This is a "what if" scenario kind of question, and it's morbid (sorry).

    If you have a horse that is catastrophically injured -- you think there is a good chance the animal will need to be euthanized -- what, if any kind of pain killer or sedative can you administer until the vet arrives?

    I have read on this board that Ace should NOT be administered as it would hinder the effectiveness of drugs used to put a horse down. What drugs, if any, might an owner have on hand that would be safe? Or are you just stuck waiting?
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  2. #2
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    Feb. 1, 2008
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    Always ask your vet before giving anything--but I have given both banamine (IV or IM) and oral bute. When my old mare colicked, she got banamine and Rompun before the vet came and I think torbogesic after, although I'm not sure. Most horse owners are unlikely to have either Rompun or torb on hand, though.

    I have never (knocking on so much wood) been in a position where it was necessary to give a sedative. The badly injured horses I've seen have generally been quiet once the initial adrenaline wears off. They are often in shock at that point.



  3. #3
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    Dec. 15, 2005
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    Default

    We keep a bottle of Dormosedan/detomidine. It is expensive (about $100) but worthwhile. Years ago, my neighbor's TB cut the big saphenous vein in her leg. She was hysterical (bolting and kicking out) and lost a couple of gallons of blood before we were able to calm her down enough to bandage it and get the vet. The mare spent the night at the horse hospital, and was fine. I decided that I wanted to always have a bottle of tranquilizer for emergencies. I can usually get my vet on the phone within a minute or two. However, it can take up to 2 hours for him to get here in an emergency just because of traffic. We always keep a small bottle of detomidine, a bottle of Banamine, several rolls of Vetwrap and some oral antibiotics (doxycycline) as our emergency supplies.



  4. #4
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    Default sedative

    Can dormosedan be administered IM? That is exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking of, but...

    If the horse has to be euthanized, and has been doped up with dormosedan, will that inhibit the effect of the "pink juice?"

    Stacey
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  5. #5
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    Default

    When my two year old broke his leg, all I had on hand was bute and banamine, which I gave him with the vet's verbal ok on the phone. He was already going into shock, and didn't need to be tranq'ed. It was horrific, and I hope none of you ever has to experience something like it.

    However, I do want to add, you might want to make sure you have splinting materials available, such as pvc pipe, old pillows, towels, and lots of vet wrap. Nothing worse than scrambling around trying to find what you need at a time like that.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  6. #6
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    Default

    Banamine will keep the pain of many/most extreme injuries in check as much as possible until professional help arrives to make final/terminal decisions.

    It is a drug that a vet will allow you to have in your possession, and can be administered IM or IV. The IM administration is slower, and had a risk of infection at injection site, but if you have a terminal situation, this is not a problem. Works faster if you can get it in IV. Oral route is the third choice, takes too long to take effect, in most cases the vet will be there by that time anyway, so no point.



  7. #7
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    Dormosedan/detomidine can be administered IM or IV. I do not know the IM dose, but the vet should know. Where we are, lots of trainers and people who own several horses keep some on hand. Our instructor had to use it once when there was a trailer accident near her house. The firefighters wanted to get the horse out the escape door in the front, since the back of the trailer was smashed in. No horse vets were within an hour of the scene, and there were downed power lines involved. After the emergency team measured the door and found the horse would fit, she sedated him and got him out.

    My veterinarian daughter often uses IV detomidine to sedate before she puts a horse down. Some of her colleagues do not like to use it because they say it lowers blood pressure and makes it harder to find the vein. She has put down a lot of horses, and has yet to have a problem.

    Talk with your vet and see what he or she recommends. If there is always a vet near you, it may not be worth the money to buy a small bottle of sedative from the vet. If you are often away from veterinary care, it is something to consider.



  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NancyM View Post
    The IM administration is slower, and had a risk of infection at injection site
    Why would IM have a risk of infection over and beyond IV?



  9. #9
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    Default

    Bute



  10. #10
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    We had a colt that had been being treated for quite some time at home, and was getting IV every few hours, long story, but the end result was that his intestines burst. My vet was out of town and the other vet was unable to come to put him down. We live in an area where there are no other vets. A HORRIFIC situation. I basically filled him up with as much banamine and ace as I could, actually hoping it would kill him, since he was dying anyways, but it did not. It dod however, make him lie fairly quietly until he passed, fortunately. I asked the vet later how much would actually kill a horse, and she said "You couldn't give them enough". I somewhat wished I ahd the nerve to shoot him, but I think we kept him pretty "out" til it was over.



  11. #11
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by NancyM View Post
    Banamine will keep the pain of many/most extreme injuries in check as much as possible until professional help arrives to make final/terminal decisions.

    It is a drug that a vet will allow you to have in your possession, and can be administered IM or IV. The IM administration is slower, and had a risk of infection at injection site, but if you have a terminal situation, this is not a problem. Works faster if you can get it in IV. Oral route is the third choice, takes too long to take effect, in most cases the vet will be there by that time anyway, so no point.
    In my experience, the oral route, is as fast if not faster than IM. I/V is the method of choice for speed.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyVagrant View Post
    Why would IM have a risk of infection over and beyond IV?
    Giving Banamine IM isn't recommended as there is an increased risk of abcessing/infection. Something to do with the carrier in the medicine.
    If the horse is terminal, it doesn't matter. But if you are expecting them to recover, it's better to give it orally or IV.
    You can pull up some older threads about it if you go to the main page of the Horse care" forum and click on search in the top rt hand corner of the forum, and search Banamine IM.



  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by staceyk View Post
    Can dormosedan be administered IM? That is exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking of, but...

    If the horse has to be euthanized, and has been doped up with dormosedan, will that inhibit the effect of the "pink juice?"

    Stacey
    Yes it can, and no it doesn't (unless you overdose)
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.



  14. #14
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    Default

    The problem with this what if scenario is that for the most part, we're talking about controlled substances that are (or should be?) difficult to acquire in advance and just have on hand.

    I'm not trying to be ridiculously morbid here...but if you are in a location where in such a catastrophic emergency a vet may not be available for some time to perform a euth, it might be best to acquire, learn how to use, and know how to euth a horse with, a gun.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    When my two year old broke his leg, all I had on hand was bute and banamine, which I gave him with the vet's verbal ok on the phone. He was already going into shock, and didn't need to be tranq'ed. It was horrific, and I hope none of you ever has to experience something like it.

    However, I do want to add, you might want to make sure you have splinting materials available, such as pvc pipe, old pillows, towels, and lots of vet wrap. Nothing worse than scrambling around trying to find what you need at a time like that.
    This was my experience too. I saw the whole thing play out in front of my eyes, break and all. I did not have banamine on hand then, but he was in shock, and just stood still for about 30 mins. before a vet came out and put him down. If a horse is already in shock, wouldn't that "numb" them anyway?

    Like MM said, it is horrible to have to go through and I pray you will not find yourself in that situation.



  16. #16
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    Nov. 15, 2004
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    However, I do want to add, you might want to make sure you have splinting materials available, such as pvc pipe, old pillows, towels, and lots of vet wrap. Nothing worse than scrambling around trying to find what you need at a time like that.
    You know, right now I have lots of vet wrap etc, at the barn, but I have never thought of this. Thank you for allowing me the chance to buy these things ahead of time. I always keep "some" on hand but I think I need to have more, just in case.
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  17. #17
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.GMan View Post
    This was my experience too. I saw the whole thing play out in front of my eyes, break and all. I did not have banamine on hand then, but he was in shock, and just stood still for about 30 mins. before a vet came out and put him down. If a horse is already in shock, wouldn't that "numb" them anyway?

    Like MM said, it is horrible to have to go through and I pray you will not find yourself in that situation.
    In my experience, it either goes two ways. They are ALWAYS in extreme pain-physiologic evidence proves this (HR, RR, sweat, MM color, etc) but they either stand quietly or collapse in shock, or they F R E A K out.

    I have no problem prescribing one or two doses of heavy tranquilizer to qualified clients (ie not beginner pony club/ first time owners) to keep on hand for emergency use-they are instructed to CALL FIRST before administering but its nice for them to have on hand.

    I've had two or three clients go on long distance trips to the World show or what have you and have serious emergencies while on the road-not able to get a call back from someone local, they invariably call our practice and we are able to get the horses somewhat stabilized or sedated enough to quiet until they get to where they are going or where I have a DVM acquaintance I can refer them to.
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.



  18. #18
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    Sep. 20, 2004
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    Yikes Shawnee, couldn't you have taken him to NCSU to be put down?

    This isn't on the drugs subject, but here are a few links about bandaging and splinting for fractures (or lacerations).

    http://special.equisearch.com/downlo...nesBandage.pdf
    http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=11524

    With stuff you already probably have around the barn, you could use no bow and standing wraps. Typically one over the lower limb, one overlapping the first at the knee/hock, then the last back over the lower limb. Brown gauze is super cheap to have on hand, and comes in handy in situations like this. A pitchfork or broom handle can serve as a splint if you don't have anything else handy.

    Saw a horse come off the trailer with a hind leg tendon laceration that was wrapped, but not splinted. Poor horse was standing on it's fetlock with the pastern and hoof on the ground behind it. Super gross.



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