By Kim Stubbs
Another day comes to an end, all the horses are fed and watered and tucked in for the night, visiting hours are over, the clinic is locked up, and everyone goes home. You might be thinking that’s the end of it, right? Not quite. It’s no surprise that the veterinarians are no strangers to long work days with irregular schedules. Our equine friends don’t necessarily plan to come down with a bad case of colic at two in the morning, or find themselves with a nasty laceration because a deer snapped some wire on their pasture fence and they were unfortunate enough to get tangled in it. Emergencies happen, and if Allegheny Equine worked like any other nine-to-five job, we’d have more than a few horse-owners finding themselves out of luck on what to do when their horse is sick or injured.
Luckily, the veterinarians work tirelessly around the clock to ensure our horses stay happy and healthy. But even the veterinarians need help sometimes and believe it or not, they do have to sleep eventually, and that’s where the night technicians come in. They lend an extra hand doing late-night treatments, or just keep an eye on things when it’s quiet. Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure the barn is clean, throwing hay and refilling water buckets throughout the night, or running bloodwork and restocking trucks when one of the vets has a particularly long day. But other times, when an emergency case comes in during the evening hours, it’s about assisting the veterinarian to help stabilize the patient, giving appropriate treatments and medications at times scheduled by the veterinarian, and working quickly and efficiently to help the patients get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.
In addition, it isn’t just emergencies that are looked after during the night hours. During breeding and foaling season, there are also many owners who elect to bring their broodmares in to foal out under the supervision of the clinic staff. Although sometimes this happens during the day, some mares prefer to foal when the barn has quieted down for the evening, without people rushing in and out performing the various daily chores. The night technicians check in on them regularly, but allow them to rest and relax, giving them privacy to feel like the environment is safe and secure for a newborn foal. Once the foal is born, it’s also the night technicians’ job to ensure that the foal is standing and nursing properly in the appropriate amount of time, and contacting a veterinarian quickly in case anything should go awry.
On quieter nights, it isn’t unusual for the night technicians to be found in the barn, giving everyone a little TLC and grooming up the patients in between treatments, or picking out stalls to give them a clean place to sleep. Some of our patients really enjoy fresh bedding they can roll around in! Other patients appreciate a little late-night snack in the form of free-choice hay or owner-approved feedings scheduled at time of check-in, and water buckets are always checked to ensure that the patients have a clean, constant supply of fresh water.
The technicians here at Allegheny Equine understand that emergencies can, and will, happen at any time of the day, and are committed to doing what we can to assist your veterinarians in treating your horse.