Can an iPhone App Save Horses’ Lives?

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A new application for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch has been developed to do just that. Colic in Horses: An Owner’s Guide is the first equine veterinary app aimed at truly reducing mortality rates in horses by educating their owners.

Our goal with this app is to improve survival rates for horses with colic.

Colic is the number one killer of horses every year. Dr. Keith Taraba, owner of Northeast Texas Equine Services (, has worked with software developers to create the first iTunes application that educates horse owners about equine colic. The free application is called Colic in Horses: An Owner’s Guide, (available now on iTunes and coming soon to the Android and Blackberry markets) and provides general information about equine colic as well as important steps owners can take if their horse develops colic.

“Every incidence of colic in horses should be treated as a true emergency where time is of the essence,” says Dr. Taraba. While some cases of colic will resolve with minimal or no treatment; many require intensive treatment and even emergency surgery. The sooner treatment begins in the severe cases, the better the outcome is likely to be, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The longer treatment is withheld, the more likely a colicky horse will die. This translates into higher vet bills and a poorer prognosis.

“Our goal with the app is to get critical information, like how to assess vital signs, into the horse owner’s hands,” says Taraba. “That way, they can pass this information on to their vet, and a treatment plan can be started sooner.” Beginning treatment sooner should improve outcomes for horses and reduce the strain on horse owners’ bank accounts.

Hopefully, education of horse owners can help to not only increase survival of horses, but also reduce the financial strain on owners.

Northeast Texas Equine Services provides complete sports medicine and advanced medical care for horses in Northeast Texas. Keith Taraba, DVM, a graduate of the University of Missouri, completed an internship at Chino Valley Equine Hospital in Chino, CA in 2002 and has since been in private practice treating horses in all disciplines from thoroughbred racing to rodeo to Arabian show horses.


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Keith Taraba, DVM
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