Equine Veterinary Education (EVE), one of two journals published by the British Equine Veterinary Association, is an online forum which publishes peer reviewed educational articles on diagnosis and treatment for equine injuries. With regard to Australia’s fires, the publishers have released, free of charge, an article on treating horses burned in bushfires. The article, penned by Elizabeth Woolsey Herbert, Adelaide Plains Equine Clinic, Gawler, South Australia, documented treatment strategies undertaken on horses burned in South Australia’s Pinery bushfires, 2015. The article includes detailed case studies are presented on two of the more severely burned horses.

The Pinery bushfires killed and severely burned thousands of horses and livestock. In the hours following, horses were examined in the field, treated for immediate issues and pain, some euthanized and 14 transported to Adelaide Plains Equine Clinic for extensive care 8 of those with extensive burns. Their injuries included corneal ulcers, muzzle burns and for most extensive burns to their extremities and underside. During recover many developed hood issues involving coronary band separation.

In defining treatment for the horses, Herbert referenced existing veterinary protocols however little information was available relative to the types of burns resulting from the bush fires. Herbert consulted with other veterinarians using their burn experience to guide treatment decisions. All 14 horses survived.

Thanks to the EVE for making this important information available and accessible to veterinarians treating family pets, horses and other livestock and wildlife burned in this current crisis. Thanks to Herbert and the staff at Adelaide Plains Equine Clinic who are everything possible to help the animals injured in the current fires.

For folks facing the immediacy of a burn injury and unable to immediately obtain veterinary care, advice from Herbert “keep the horse water cooled”.

Click HERE to access Herbert’s article, “Findings and strategies for treating horses injured in open range fires”.

Note: this article is not for “do it yourselfers”. If your horse suffers any burn, you should immediately consult your veterinarian.

Photography courtesy Elizabeth Woolsey Herbert

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