Emergency Equine Medicine

Emergency Veterinarian Services
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Emergency Calls
It is imperative when making an emergency call to have the location/address of the animal and a call-back number, as well as the name of the veterinarian who normally treats the horse.  Relay the phone number clearly and have it repeated back to you. Occasionally numbers get transposed, a situation which makes it impossible for the emergency veterinarian to call you back.
If the emergency veterinarian is in the process of treating an active case, it may take up to 20 minutes to get a return call. If you have a severe emergency and have not received a return call within 20 minutes, request that the emergency veterinarian be paged again.
If the emergency veterinarian cannot be reached, then ask the answering service if they can try to reach the back-up doctor on call.
Emergency Services

EVA has been providing quality emergency services to Orange County equestrians and their horses for over fifty years. Whether it is Christmas morning or 11:30 P.M. on a rainy night, we pride ourselves on having a qualified veterinarian available to respond to your emergency needs.

Preferential service is provided to our regular clients, but we can frequently provide emergency services to clients of other practices if needed. Payment is “required at the time of service” unless previous arrangements have been made with our office.

We accept cash, checks with proper ID, VISA™, MASTERCARD, ™ and AMEX™ as payment for emergency services.

Please be aware that we are an equine practice only.  We do not carry either the equipment or the medications nor do we have the expertise to cover emergencies for animals other than horses.

Colic” is a horseman’s term for a condition that causes a horse to show signs of abdominal discomfort or pain. These clinical signs can be as mild as not eating or stretching out, or as extreme as throwing itself down on the ground and rolling. The cause of colic usually originates from either the upper intestinal tract (the stomach and small intestine) or the lower intestinal tract (the large and small colon). The cause of colic occasionally can also originate from problems not involving the intestinal tract.

The first thing to do with a colicky horse is to attempt to assess the vital signs: temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, gastro-intestinal activity, mucus membrane color, capillary refill time, and any evidence or absence of manure, and the character of the manure if any is present. Obviously, if these procedures have been practiced by the owner multiple times in advance, then the likelihood of collecting valid information is greatly increased.


Once the condition has been fully assessed, it is time to call your EVA veterinarian for specific instructions.

Follow-Up Care After Colic Treatment

If your horse has been treated for colic by your EVA veterinarian, you have probably been given specific instructions for follow-up care. In general terms, there are several things that you need to address.


Most frequently horses with colic have been given a medication called Banamine for the control of abdominal pain. If this medication does not make the horse feel much better, this would be of serious concern. The Banamine should give significant pain relief for five hours, so if pain recurs prior to five hours after treatment, referral to a hospital should be considered.


For this reason, it is imperative that the horse be closely monitored for five to six hours after the administration of Banamine to watch for recurrence of painful signs. Your EVA veterinarian may authorize a repeat dosage of the Banamine.



It is probable that your veterinarian administered mineral oil to your horse through a nasogastric tube. The oil functions to coat and protect the intestinal lining as well as to soften any hard manure which might be obstructing the intestinal tract 


The mineral oil, in a normal horse, may take up to twenty-four hours to be passed in the manure. The horse may or may not appear to have softer stools than normal. The best way to tell if the oil has passed is to look under the tail and see if there is oil around the anus. As a general rule, we tend to hold the horse off food completely until we are confident that no obstruction is present in the gastrointestinal tract and the oil is passing through.



As previously stated, generally the horse is kept completely off food until the oil has completely traversed the intestinal tract. Once that has occurred, the horse is started back on half food for the first feeding and then full food on the second feeding. On occasion it will be suggested to feed a bran mash as an additional laxative.


As a general rule, all concentrates, grain, vitamins, and supplements are withheld for three to seven days and then gradually reintroduced to the horse’s food ration.