If you have an emergency with your horse, stay calm! Our veterinarians are here to help you, whether you need phone advice or an emergency barn call. To reach the veterinarian on call, simply dial our clinic office number (585) 889-1170. Our answering service will pick up the call after hours. You can also contact the answering service directly at (585)327-3434.
Do not use any clinic or doctor numbers obtained through caller ID as the call may not get directly routed to the doctor handling emergencies. The fastest and most efficient way to contact us in an emergency is to call (585)889-1170.
The operator will ask you a few questions, and will immediately page the veterinarian on call. That veterinarian will call you back within ten minutes and discuss your problem with you. If you do not receive a response within ten minutes, call the answering service again. If your problem is serious, the veterinarian will schedule a visit that day at a time that is mutually convenient. If your problem is extremely urgent, the veterinarian on call will come immediately.
We also have an article on emergencies linked here.
Give the operator at the answering service a short summary of your problem (f.g. horse with cut leg, foal not nursing, etc.) Remember that the person you are speaking to is a message relayer, not a veterinarian, and will be sending a short text summary of your problem to our pagers. You must give the operator some idea of what the problem is — we can not respond to messages to call phone numbers without a reason.
Give the operator any phone numbers we can use to reach you, including cell phones. Include the area code if you live outside the (585) region. Make sure that in your haste to contact us you do not give us an incorrect phone number! Then please, stay off your phone or computer and keep the line free! We will call you back within ten minutes.
Be prepared to give directions to your barn or stable, including the exact street address. If it is dark and your driveway is hard to find, try to think of easy to identify landmarks, and turn on as many lights as you can to help us navigate.
On rare occasions there are technical problems with the relay system. Our answering service operators will reach a GVEC veterinarian by an alternative contact route if for any reason the pagers do not work. If you do not hear back from the veterinarian on call within ten minutes, please call the service again. Verify that the contact information that you gave originally is correct, then request that the service contact a GVEC veterinarian by another route.
Veterinarians always find it easier to work in clean, well lit barns. While you are waiting for emergency help to arrive, please clear a good work space and set up extra lighting if necessary. The veterinarian will give you phone advice as to how to handle the specific problem that your horse has until help arrives. Above all, stay safe, and do not try to do anything with your horse that might get someone hurt.
Examples of Extremely Urgent Emergencies
Mare in labor unable to deliver the foal
Severe arterial bleeding
Horse trapped in trailer, stall or fence
Examples of Emergencies That Should Be Seen On the Same Day
consult us ASAP for urgency guidelines
Swollen, cloudy or painful eye
Lacerations or severe trauma
High fever with inappetence
Mild colic that does not resolve in 30-45 minutes
Weak foal that is unable to nurse
Retained placenta (more than 3 hours)
Choke (saliva coming from the nose)
Sudden loss of coordination or balance
The above list is not a complete one as horses think up new ways to get hurt or sick every day! If you think you have an emergency, call us. We can help!
Note for horseowners outside of the GVEC practice territory: Our veterinarians can not leave our 5 county territory to see “outside” emergencies as this would jeopardize the health and safety of our regular patients. However, we can see emergencies on a ship in basis at our clinic in Scottsville. If you live outside of the GVEC territory and have an emergency you would like to ship in to us, please call us using the above protocol. We do NOT perform colic surgery at our clinic, so horses with serious colic should be shipped to another referral facility.
The staff at Cornell Hospital for Large Animals is available 24 hours a day for evaluation of emergencies, and also sees complex cases on a referral basis Monday through Friday. The staff veterinarians at GVEC are happy to make appointments for your horse to be seen at Cornell, both for urgent and regular scheduled care. Cornell requires full payment for services at the time of discharge, and a deposit at time of admittance, so please arrive prepared with a check or credit card to settle your charges.
An additional article on emergencies is linked here.