8.3 Episodic collapse
A horse which collapses is obviously a potential danger to the rider and handlers. Often owners of these animals assign diagnoses such as a 'heart attack' or a 'fit'. At the outset, it is worth informing owners that coronary artery disease is exceptionally rare in the horse. A thorough investigation is required to ensure that any abnormalities are detected and to reassure the rider so that their conis restored if the animal is safe to ride again. As in all clinical evaluations, the first aim when examining a horse which collapses is to reach a specific diagnosis. Cardiovascular and neurological diseases are the most commonly identified causes of episodic collapse; however, a specific diagnosis is seldom made. In these cases the role of the veterinarian is to offer sensible advice on the management of the horse.
Episodic collapse can be defined as a loss of consciousness or ataxia leading to recumbency and should be distinguished from a fall, stumbling or slipping. This distinction is not always easy. Ideally, it is helpful to examine animals during a collapsing episode, but this is seldom possible, such events can very rarely be reproduced for the benefit of an examining veterinary surgeon. The first requirement in investigation of these cases is therefore to acquire an accurate history.
8.3.2 Cardiovascular causes of collapse
8.3.3 Neurological causes of collapse
8.3.4 Other potential causes of collapse
8.3.5 Management of horses which collapse