Horses can feel pain when they sustain an injury.
Inflammatory pain – Inflammatory mediators can increase pain sensitivity and make the pain worse within six hours. Although anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce pain, some injuries may still require the assistance of the inflammatory response.
Neuropathic pain – This is a result of a major trauma, i.e. spinal column
Somatic pain – Pain that is related to the skin, joints tissues, etc. Tissues are stuffed with pain receptors (nociceptors).
Muscle spasm can lead to pain and prevent movement. This can lead to more pain as the muscles that are in spasm experience a decreased blood supply (ischaemia). To relieve pain, this cycle must be broken. It can be difficult for horses with injuries to recognize pain. The adrenaline that is released can mask the pain and sometimes cause more damage than the horse realizes.
To make the right decisions regarding treatment, safety, and care, it is important to quickly assess, diagnose, and stabilize an injured horse. What sports is the exact nature of the injury?
Is it tendon, ligament or bone injury? You must not make any injury worse. The correct application of a bandage or splint to stabilize the injury can help prevent further injury.
Is the horse tied up (Exertional rhabdomyolysis). Horses should not be made to walk, and should be kept warm.
Is there bleeding? It is important to stop the bleeding as soon as possible.
Are the horses in danger? Horses can be trapped in, or caught in, e.g. Horses caught in e.g. fences are unpredictable so it is important to seek extra help.
Is the horse resigned? – What is the reason? Is he stuck physically? Exhausted? Neurological Trauma Collapse? Are you winded? What is the reason your horse is recumbent? If possible, the horse should be kept alert for its breathing and heart rate. This will allow them to monitor stress levels.
In situations of panic (either horse or rider), common sense is essential.
It is easy to forget the most basic things. Choosing the right route for your horse depending on the injury to a leg can make a huge difference in their comfort. As we want to help them as soon as possible, scared horses can influence how we care for them. Before we can restrain the horse or begin treatment, we need to make sure that everything is safe. This will ensure that the horse doesn’t injure itself further and also prevent us from getting into trouble.