Emergency Care

We provide a full emergency service, with 24-hour coverage 365 days a year. There is always a vet on call to provide emergency advice and visits if needed. If you have an emergency with your horse and think you need a veterinary visit or telephone advice, please call the usual office number of 0191 603 11 22. Out of hours calls (outside office hours of 08.30-17.00 Monday – Friday), will be answered by an operator who will take your details and pass them on to the on-call vet who will call you back.

Equine emergencies encompass a broad range of conditions but the following are some of the most common ailments we see.

A common emergency complaint we see is equine colic. Known as the “c-word” among horse owners, colic can be quite an alarming experience. Symptoms include pawing the ground, flank watching, and rolling, among others. We always recommend a veterinary visit in colic cases, but is important to remember that the vast majority of colicky horses are easily treated medically and will not require surgery. Visits are important to provide pain relief in all cases and to identify the emergency cases while they are still treatable. If you see any symptoms of colic in your horse please call us for advice as soon as possible.

Laminitis is another common equine ailment which occurs most often in the spring and summer, but which we are increasingly seeing throughout the year. We strongly recommend laminitic horses are seen as soon as symptoms present themselves, as “a touch of lami” can easily turn into a serious medical condition. Symptoms include lameness, weight-shifting, and a backward-leaning stance. We are fully equipped to carry out every aspect of laminitis investigation and treatment, including x-rays and blood testing.

Laminitis - Durham Equine Practice

Many horses enjoy a hard feed for breakfast or tea – but sometimes this can lead to choke. Some of the most alarmed phone calls we receive are regarding choking horses, as symptoms can be quite dramatic – including cough, an outstretched position and food and saliva coming out of the mouth and nose. But don’t panic! The vast majority of choking horses will resolve by themselves within 30-60 minutes. Just take out their food and keep them quiet at this time. If there is no improvement then please call us for advice.

Horses being horses, it’s almost inevitable your horse will experience a wound at some point or another in their lives. Wounds can be minor grazes or major emergencies depending on site, size, and depth, and we recommend calling us for advice if you discover a new wound on your horse.

This is not an exhaustive list, and if you are concerned for your horse for any reason please do not hesitate to contact us.