Horses can sustain wounds in their stable, field or while being ridden. Wounds can cover a whole spectrum from a minor scratch to a wound that needs emergency surgery under general anaesthetic. Below is a guide to help you decide if and when you should seek veterinary assistance if your horse is unfortunate enough to be injured.
Which wounds always require veterinary advice?
Any wound within 8cm (3 1/2 inches) of a joint or one that involves an eyelid requires immediate advice. Additionally if the wound is full-skin thickness and greater than 1cm in length, if the horse is lame, when there is a discharge, or when there is an unpleasant smell from the wound please call the office and at least discuss the wound with one of the vets.
Which wounds can be easily treated without veterinary assistance?
Any wound that is does not penetrate the full skin thickness and where the horse is not lame probably does not need veterinary intervention. If you are in any doubt or are at all worried please call the office and speak directly to one of the vets or make an appointment with the reception team.
A full skin thickness wound 1cm long or less will commonly heal without complication as long as the wound is kept clean.
How do I treat a wound?
Any wound should be washed immediately with clean running water, ideally using a hose or clean plant sprayer with fresh clean water. Once superficially clean you should inspect the wound closely and if you are in any doubt as to its severity, contamination by dirt or its location in relation to a joint please call the surgery. If you have satisfied yourself that it does not require veterinary attention the wound should be cleaned thoroughly. Hibiscrub (chlorhexidine) is a very good antibacterial wash that is ideal for cleaning wounds. Salty water is also a good substitute (a teaspoon of salt in half a pint of water) for cleaning wounds. If the wound is on the legs or around the head be very careful not to get injured while cleaning the wound. If necessary the horse can be sedated using an oral sedative paste with sufficient time for effect to allow proper cleaning of the wound. The wound should be cleaned twice daily until healed. If the wound develops a discharge or bad smell please speak to one of the vets. Most wounds do not require bandaging and do better when left open to the air.
What is Proud Flesh?
Proud Flesh is where a wound has tried to heal itself too rapidly and the body has produced too much tissue. Proud Flesh most commonly occurs in lower limb wounds and appears much like a red wart that may bleed. As with many things prevention is better than cure and keeping a wound clean will help prevent Proud Flesh.
If a wound develops Proud Flesh please speak to one of the vets. Treatment involves removing the excess tissue and this may be combined with bandaging of the wound and/or application of a steroid cream.
DISCLAIMER: This advice is intended for use by registered clients of Priors Farm only. The advice offered is general advice only. Priors Farm clients who wish to discuss the individual circumstances of their horse should contact the office. To speak to a vet please phone between 8.30 – 10.00 am on weekday mornings.