The snow has caused problems for lots of owners over the past few weeks. The snow cover has meant that sometimes it is not clear to the horses where is safe for them to go, even if they are used to their surroundings. This caused a particular problem for Billy, who was in new surroundings, when he got into trouble by falling into a frozen river.
Luckily Billy’s owner’s realised that he was missing and started looking for him. He was so quiet initially he was hard to see but luckily he was spotted as he moved his head. The water was right up to his neck and had actually frozen around him. The quick thinking of the owner and her friend, who also keeps horses in the field, meant that the fire brigade were on their way immediately. Once the fire brigade had been called Scarsdale was also contacted straight away. Scarsdale are part of the emergency services protocol, which means if there is an accident in Derbyshire, and a horse is involved, Scarsdale will be called to the scene to look after the horse and make sure a qualified equine vet is in attendance straight away.
On receiving the call at the practice the reception team contacted Gemma Lamble one of our equine vets who has been down to Hampshire fire service and trained in rescue techniques to aid in this type of emergency. The job of the vet on an emergency call is to look after the horse whilst it is rescued. Sometimes horses need to be sedated to keep them calm whilst they are recued. Often our vets also administer pain relief and emergency treatment on the scene.
In this case Billy was not sedated because Gemma was worried about him keeping his head above water. Billy had also been in the frozen river for several hours and Gemma didn’t want to reduce his circulation because he was already hypothermic. Billy had straps put around him before a sideways assist was used to slide him out of the river and away from danger.
Once Billy was out of the river he was very keen to get up and was straight on his feet, which was a great relief to everyone that had helped rescue him. Due to the freezing temperatures Billy had been trapped in, however, the next twenty four hours were critical. After emergency first aid on the scene Billy was taken straight to Scarsdale where he was put in a stable under specially fitted heat lamps to warm his body temperature quickly. Billy was also given antibiotics to protect against pneumonia and pain relief to make him more comfortable. Warmed IV fluids were also on standby if we felt his condition was deteriorating at all.
Luckily Billy made really good progress once he was warm and out of the water. He received lots of TLC from out nursing team and his owners were delighted to take him back home.