*Disclaimer: Graphic horse injuries shown. Viewer discretion is advised.
We have all been there. Charlie has a gash above his eye that needs to be evaluated, but we aren’t sure how serious it is. Our vet requests a photo to determine the severity., so we take out our smartphone and snap away, in a hurry to get someone out here to sew up Charlie’s latest battle wound from getting a little too fresh near the gate. We get a call. The vet wants to know what exactly they are looking at and requests more specifics. After re-examining our photography, we realize that Charlie had shaken his head at the exact time the snapshots were taken, and no one can tell whether this is abstract art or a photo of a sandstorm. If you find yourself in a similar situation, keep reading for tips on taking better photos to send to your veterinarian.
People love “WHAT IS THAT?!” pictures. They are intriguing and entertaining. And often, as in the situation described above, photos sent to the vet are just this. However, you don’t want to leave your vet guessing when her phone finally uploads your pictures. Let her know (even if you already explained the situation to the receptionist over the phone) what she is looking at. Give a short description. For example: “Alfie tried to jump the 6-foot gate. The gate won. He is bleeding on his right front with a cut on his left knee.” This shows the vet exactly where in the photo to zero in on, especially if there are a lot of additional and unrelated elements.
Clean and Up Close
If your horse has a small puncture wound on his leg, make sure to clean the area with clippers, if possible, to give the doctor the best view of what they will be treating. There is nothing like trying to find a puncture wound on a leg when looking at a picture of a cushingoid Shetland pony who hasn’t been clipped since 2003. Get the camera as close as possible, and focus on the wound. This shows the doctor if the wound is in an especially dangerous place, how severe it is (i.e., as accurately as a photo can without actually seeing the wound in person), and if it is actively bleeding.
Just like when taking Christmas card photos of your kids, no one wants their pictures to be blurry. When trying to send a photo of a wound so severe you think it warrants an emergency call to your veterinarian, have a helper (if possible) hold the horse so you can get a clear shot of the injured area. Be very careful if it is a wound near the leg or hoof and requires you to duck down and put yourself in a dangerous position.
It is not easy to locate an above-the-eyelid laceration on a horse standing inside a barn with no lights or windows. Bring the horse to a well-lit area to have his picture taken for the vet. This could mean he has to stand in the barn aisle, in direct sunlight, or near a window during a bright part of the day.
When sending your veterinarian a picture of your steed’s newest injury, try to get the best photo possible so it is easier to determine what equipment may be required and how much of an emergency it is.
Carolina Equine Hospital
Dealing with an equine emergency? Give us a call! If it is after hours, follow the instructions on our machine to connect with our on-call doctor. We can be reached at 336-349-4080. We service equines in the Piedmont Triad as well as some of the surrounding areas.