Is it possible to do CPR on horses?

npage123

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I've been wondering about this for many years now.

About 20 years ago, I went on a hack with a friend and her horse had (presumably) a heart attack and literally dropped dead on the spot. He was fit and it was only a short, non-strenuous hack, so that day's exercise couldn't have caused it, surely. Would he have had a pre-existing heart problem (like a murmur or something) and could we have done anything to try and safe him? (When it happened, I did try and do some heart compressions but I'm not even sure if I did it in the heart area(!) and with the horse being such a large animal, is it possible to do it successfully in some cases?)
 

alsiola

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It is vaguely possible, but due to the amount of force needed to compress a horse's chest it has pretty much zero success rate. If attempted it usually means jumping off something and landing knees first somewhere around the chest area. Being near the heart doesn't matter too much for CPR, it is compression (and re-expansion) of the chest that matters.

In your case then the most likely situation is an aortic rupture if death was that sudden. No way of predicting it, and no way of saving them.
 

marlyclay

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What a strange question? And the answer would be unfortunately no,cpr would be impossible on such a large animal
as would putting neddy in the recovery position!
 

Mike007

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Heart attacks are rare in horses ,unlike humans. The odds were that it wasnt a heart attack and therefore even if it were theoreticaly possible to do CPR ,it would be unlikely to work. I also have worried and wondered about this point,having been in a similar situation. Sadly ,horses leave us without warning. But perhaps a quick end is preferable to the alternative.It hurts like hell to loose a horse suddenly ,but perhaps it is sometimes a kindness for the horse.
 

Rose Folly

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When our dog almost drowned (came up and sank three times, pulled to surface by my son) I did CPR, and then got it to the vet. It was an elderly, but lasted a year or two more. However the vet said one shouldn't do CPR on dogs. Why was that? We did have a horse drop dead from a heart attack and I'm afraid I didn't think of CPR in his case, and if I had, wouldn't have known where to start.
 

GTs

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I think the reason for detering people from doing CPR on dogs, is sick and injured dogs often bite the people trying to help them.
 

Equilibrium Ireland

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I know of a woman that did CPR on a just born filly that wasn't breathing or had a heartbeat. She survived and is a beautiful gorgeous yearling.

It's my understanding that horses do not have heart attacks but anyerisms or ruptures so therefore no point in CPR. Whereas the filly was different in that her heart was not beating. She was also a foal and therefore easier to work on than a full grown horse obviously.

Terri
 

horsemadelsie

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When our dog almost drowned (came up and sank three times, pulled to surface by my son) I did CPR, and then got it to the vet. It was an elderly, but lasted a year or two more. However the vet said one shouldn't do CPR on dogs. Why was that? We did have a horse drop dead from a heart attack and I'm afraid I didn't think of CPR in his case, and if I had, wouldn't have known where to start.
I have now seen leaflets etc on how to do CPR on a dog, think they may be encouraging it now- it is something I had never considered before (but then I am the world's worst at first aid!)
 

PucciNPoni

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I have attended canine first aid clinics in which they show you how and encourage you to do CPR. We have done it in our grooming salon! On a horse it would be very difficult just due the sheer size, but I can see how it would be possible to do on a young foal.
 

Burnttoast

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It is vaguely possible, but due to the amount of force needed to compress a horse's chest it has pretty much zero success rate. If attempted it usually means jumping off something and landing knees first somewhere around the chest area.
I've seen this done (unsuccessfully) in a recovery box at a vet clinic.
 

Wundahorse

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Compressions can be effectively used if a horse suddlenly stops breathing.At that stage it would be difficult to ascertain why this occured,but horses can go into heart failure,hence it is possible.I performed compressions on my friends old pony who suddlenly collapsed during a colic episode.Three times he stopped breathing and three times the compressions restarted his heart.However,his condition was terminal and when the vet arrived he was pts.If the horse is on its side,the compressions can be done over the heart in the chest.Doubt giving air would help as a horses head and nose is too far apart.In any event in human medicine it is the compressions,not the air which is the critical procedure to perform.
 

MileAMinute

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I'd imagine it's vaguely possible but seeing as the chances of resuscitation/survival are poor enough for humans (outside a clinical area) I wouldn't think it'd be too successful on equines.

Just my two cents :)
 

loopylucifer

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for all those that have said no actually it is very possiable as my horse is living proof of it. She is 16hh and 600kg. Admitadly she was at the vets and was in recovery from op and she has a full blown cardiac arrset they did CPR and she had adrenalin. the vets really didn't think she would make i and they phoned me to tell me this. By the time i got there she was comming round and got up and that was 3 years ago and she is very fighting fit in that respect. I do think the sucess rate is very poor and i have never heard of another recovering and even the vets still remake on her recovery. I have also seen CPR done on a 14hh pony that collapsed in the stable vet was presnt but it was unsucessful.
 
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