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  • Megan Fleming

Lameness: When Should You Call the Vet vs. An Equine Physio?

This is a common question, especially now with there are so many alternative therapies to turn to: physio, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture... all of whom have a difference lens to view a situation.

It is impossible to make an exhaustive list of specific situations for ‘when to call the veterinarian.' As we all know horses tend to find themselves in a number of 'interesting' situations. However, there are certainly some guidelines to help better make a decision.

As a basic rule, owners should be guided by degree of lameness and/or wounds then over minor swelling. For example, if the horse is non weight bearing on a particular limb, this is considered urgent and an assessment by a veterinarian is warranted. However, a minor swelling with no lameness is unlikely to require immediate veterinary attention. It is very important to monitor mild concerns. If changes occur, such as a developing lameness, an assessment by a veterinarian is warranted.

Any significant wound in association with lameness requires an assessment by a veterinarian, as some wounds can cause concerning damage to deeper structures in the limbs.

An equine physio is immensely important on the road to recovery once a diagnosis has been determined. They are the fundamental part in coming up with a rehabilitation

program and overall maintenance program to get our equine friends back to healthy status of movement and comfort.

When to call the vet and NOT the equine physio:

1-Persistent bleeding

2-you feel there may be an underlying condition - cancer, virus,

3-puncture wound with or without debris

4-too much pain where the horse is unsafe to be handled

5-significant pain where the horse is not drinking

6-significant pain where the horse is not eating

7-fracture/broken bone

8-you feel there is an infection

9-non weight bearing on a leg

10-horse is unable to get up

11- high fever

12- coliking

13-falling over, unable to balance

14-difficulty breathing

15-open wound

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