Four Levels of Patient Conditions to help you identify an Emergency


  • Lameness: Non-weight bearing lameness or a fracture
  • Breathing problems: Sudden or severe inability to breathe normally; rapid, distressed asthmatic-like breathing or an obstructed upper airway (possible “choke)
  • Bleeding: Persistent bleeding from wound or body opening; e.g. mouth, ear, nostril, rectum, vagina
  • Colic:
    • Severe or persistent colicky behavior such as rolling, pawing, lying down, biting at sides, reduced manure, etc.
    • Call Dr. Werner immediately due to the progressive course and high risk of many colic cases.
    • Do not medicate your horse before speaking with Dr. Werner because medications may make diagnosis and/or treatment more difficult.
  • Neurologic: Sudden onset of severe neurological dysfunction such as staggering, in-coordination or a profound behavior change
  • Eyes: Sudden onset of blindness, obvious eye trauma or unwillingness to open the eyelids
  • Foaling: Mare takes longer than 30 minutes to complete 2nd stage of labor (delivery of foal)
  • Laminitis: Acute (sudden onset) laminitis shown as reluctance to walk, heat in feet or pain
  • Trauma/Injury: Trauma/Injury at or near vital structures such as eyes, genitals, major nerves and vessels (e.g., the throatlatch),  joints, tendons, ligaments, synovial compartments or a trauma that requires immediate attention for cosmetic reasons
  • High fever:  temperature above 103°F
  • Heat stroke: High pulse (greater than 50 beats per minute); clammy skin; pale gums


These conditions need prompt attention, but they can usually be managed with veterinarian-prescribed first aid measures until Dr. Werner can examine the horse.

  • Fever: Low grade fever (101-103°F)
  • Lameness: Sudden onset lameness when horse can still bear weight on the affected leg(s)
  • Trauma/Injury: Trauma/Injury that is superficial, away from vital structures, does not compromise normal vital functions and there is no need for immediate attention for cosmetic reasons
  • Less severe Colic: general colic symptoms of poor appetite, dullness, diminished fecal passage
  • Laminitis: Flare-ups of chronic (ongoing)  laminitis
  • Breathing problems: Flare-ups of chronic (ongoing) inflammatory respiratory disease


These conditions can usually persist without deterioration until Dr. Werner can examine the horse or prescribe care on a scheduled basis.

  • Lameness: intermittent and slight lameness
  • Skin: Persistent dermatitis or other skin problems
  • Eyes: Intermittent and slight discharge from an eye with no sign of pain or poor vision
  • Appetite: Reduced appetite with no other symptoms
  • Dental: Slight difficulty chewing
  • Breathing problems: Slight nasal discharge with no fever or labored breathing


  • Physical examination is the cornerstone and real value of wellness care at Werner Equine.
  • Our knowledge of your horse’s medical history and Dr. Werner’s examination findings enable him to recommend wellness care to meet your horse’s unique needs.
  • In addition to the physical examination, wellness care can include diagnostic fecal analysis, dentistry, vaccination, nutrition counseling, Coggins testing and other services.
  • Wellness care works! It can minimize the risk of illness, identify problems early when they are usually less difficult/less expensive to treat and help keep your horse healthy and active.

Call us at 860.653.5088 to learn more about Horse Health and Emergency Care at Werner Equine.