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Equine: Emergency

Our Equine Emergency Service offers 24-hour a day, year-round directed and continuous care for critically ill or injured, emergency, and urgent care (same-day, no appointment) equine patients, with a special emphasis on the colic patient.


The service is overseen by specialists with board certification in equine surgery, equine emergency/critical care, equine internal medicine, and large animal internal medicine. Your animal will be treated and intensively monitored 24 hours a day during their entire stay at the VH.

Critical and emergency cases can be unpredictable, we work collaboratively with board-certified specialists in theriogenology (reproduction), Anesthesiology and Pain Management and Radiology, along with a fully staffed surgical team for emergency surgery.

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Our Specialties

The following are common equine medical conditions that should be seen immediately:

  • Colic (abdominal pain indicated by pawing and rolling)
  • Serious laceration of the limb or body
  • Epistaxis (bleeding from the nose)
  • Choking
  • Fracture
  • Trauma
  • Eye or head trauma
  • Snake bite
  • Dystocia (abnormal or difficult birthing)
  • Muscle cramping
  • Metabolic disease (Cushings disease)
  • Muscle disease

Appointments and Referrals

We are open to the general public. Our staff will work with the patient’s primary veterinarian to discuss the patient’s condition for follow up care. Veterinarians can use our referral form to indicate specifics of the patient history.

It is our goal to deliver the most complete service as efficiently as possible. The length of your visit is variable depending on your horse’s specific needs.

Give yourself plenty of time for the appointment. You are welcome to bring snacks/lunch and we have a coffee shop along with several vending machines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should your visit require hospitalization, your horse will be monitored 24/7 by your primary faculty clinician, residents, veterinary technician staff, and senior veterinary students.

We encourage patient visits between the hours of 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 4-6:30 p.m. Just stop by the reception desk and a receptionist will page someone to meet you and take you back to your horse’s stall. If those times aren’t convenient for you, please let us know and we will make arrangements for you.

You can expect a call once daily from your veterinary team regarding your horse’s well-being unless other arrangements are made. You will be contacted as soon as possible if a problem arises.

At the end of your appointment or when you come to pick up your horse, you will go into the Large Animal Reception Desk where you will pay your bill and receive your discharge instructions. Once you have finished there you will proceed to the breezeway where you will meet up with someone from your veterinary team and go over your discharge sheet to be sure all questions are answered and that you have any medications you need. Now it is time to load up so you may pull your trailer into the breezeway.

We also understand that the care of your horse involves many people. If you have not been directly referred by a primary care veterinarian, please let us know if there is a veterinarian we need to provide information to regarding the treatment of your horse.


Additional resources may also be found at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s website.