Dells Equine Emergency Services
For horse emergencies in the Dells Equine service territory of Central Wisconsin, please read this intro section very carefully, and then continue with the numbered instructions.
My goal is to have a solid relationship with you and your horses so that you "know me before you need me." Due to the high number of after-hours emergency services requested, I prioritize my clients who also use me for routine wellness care such as daytime preventative care exams, vaccinations, dentistry, and breeding work at least once per year. This is how you can have peace of mind that I am available to you when you need me at the lowest after-hours charges.
If you are a new client or it has been a year or more since I last serviced you for daytime preventative care, you are still welcome to call between 4pm-9pm, weekends, and holidays, and I will call you back if I am available. I do not see dogs and cats.
However, until we have formed or re-established a current relationship with you based on preventative care, please make other emergency arrangements from 9pm-8am. Wisconsin Equine Practitioners Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners have searchable lists of veterinarians that may be able to assist you.
Please remember that veterinarians take time off, get sick, have family commitments, and cannot be in more than one place at a time. We love to help animals and will do our best to help you, but there are rare circumstances that make it impossible for us to come. It is important that you keep up with preventative care to maintain your working relationship with your veterinarian, but also be prepared to haul your horse to a referral facility in the event a veterinarian is not able to come to you.
Help Me Help You: Horse Emergency Action Plan
Before you call about an equine emergency: assess, stabilize, and calm the horse as much as reasonably possible. Apply a pressure bandage if there is bleeding. If you can do so safely, and if the horse is stable, take the horse’s vital signs before calling, so you can better describe the horse’s condition. If it will be my first time coming there, prepare yourself to be able to tell me the exact farm address and nearest intersecting road. In describing injuries, it is nice if you can describe the location using anatomical terms.
Call 608-844-9833. Press 1 to be forwarded as opposed to 2 which is for non-emergency messages. Leave a message at the first opportunity. I do not answer the phone live after hours and I am not notified of missed calls after regular business hours so repeatedly calling and hanging up without leaving a voicemail will waste time. Please be clear about who you are, which horse it is, and briefly what the emergency is. I check messages immediately and call back as soon as I am able to and in consideration of how urgent the situation is. There is no need to leave multiple messages; it will just cause our phone calls to cross and make it harder to connect when I am trying to call you back. After you leave one message, please make sure you answer the phone when I call back. If your phone is dead, not getting reception, not set up to accept voicemails, or if you are on the phone with other people/vets it will slow down my ability to help you. If you want to start calling other people, use a different phone than the one I will be calling back on. I will try calling back twice, if you are not answering I assume you do not need me anymore. My business line does not receive text messages but you are welcome to email photos of wounds to email@example.com or send them in a Facebook message.
Use your time waiting to set up so when I arrive I can get straight to work helping your horse:
- Put a halter and lead rope on the horse. In summer, apply fly spray. If I am working on a foal, the mare will need to be restrained too.
- Clean off muddy feet (hose off and dry) if the horse is lame because I will be examining the feet.
- Put dogs, cats, goats, chickens, etc. away so they can’t get hurt, knock over things, or contaminate supplies.
- Please arrange for supervision of small children a safe distance away.
- Separate the horse from others in the herd. Ideally take it out of the pasture from herdmates. If we need to work in the pasture, tie up all other remaining horses or put them in other areas. It may help to keep a buddy horse nearby but it needs to be tied, held by a person, or across a fenceline—it cannot be moving freely in our space.
- Put on long pants and protective boots for your feet.
- Have your horse’s health binder, your emergency plans, past medical records, and vaccination history available, especially if it has been treated by other vets.
- Move vehicles or clutter so that I can drive right up to the horse. Shovel snow, put cat litter or sand on ice, etc. Open gates and doors so I can move freely back and forth between my vehicle and the horse. Turn off electric fences.
- Clear a large area where I can set up equipment and work on all sides of the horse safely. If you don’t have a barn, depending on weather we may need to use your garage. Find dry bedding that can be put down to make clean, dry footing under the horse, especially for lower leg wounds or if I am going to be setting up x-ray equipment. For chokes and colics in which case I will be passing a stomach tube, clean footing under the front of the horse is very helpful.
- Set up at least one safe, grounded extension cord to the work area and make sure it has power.
- Set up a garbage can and a bucket or two of clean, warm water. Clean old towels you’re willing to get rid of are handy, too.
- Lighting is very important. Shop lights are wonderful, flashlights will help, and if nothing else set up headlights.
- Set up a fan or heater if appropriate. Hair dryers are appreciated to warm up my hands in extreme cold.
- Turn off noisy machinery or radios so I’ll be able to use my stethoscope.
- Start thinking about how you’ll haul the horse to a hospital if needed.
- Find a blanket for your horse in cold weather.
- Be prepared to be able to stall confine your horse afterwards. It is not always appropriate to turn it back out to pasture if it has colic, a wound, choke, a contagious infection, etc. You’ll need bedding and a heated bucket ready.
- Check on your supply of medications/expiration dates and bandage material so I can replenish what you need.
- If you anticipate I’ll have trouble locating your driveway, especially in the dark, mark it with something visual, even an extra person with a flashlight would help at night.
Be prepared to pay for services right away.
$500 should be available at any time to cover an emergency or at least a good portion of it. I accept cash, (usually) checks, and credit cards. If you anticipate this being a problem, the retainer payment system I offer(but it needs to be started before an emergency) or the Scratchpay loan service I partner with, are good options for you. Also, anyone can make a payment on your behalf so you can easily borrow from someone else 24/7 without a delay in my ability to serve you.
Thank you for working together with me to care for your horse for the best possible outcome.