Your horse will almost certainly get scratched, cut, or injured at some point. Horses squabble in meadows, get tangled in branches or fence rails, or scratch themselves against gates or stall walls. These tiny wounds usually heal quickly and without complications. It's crucial to understand the difference between a tiny nick, cut, bruise, or scrape and a wound that requires veterinary treatment. You can treat most minor injuries yourself if you have a basic first aid kit. It's also crucial that your horse have a tetanus vaccination every year.
01 of 07
Assessing the Wound
When you notice a cut in your horse's otherwise immaculate coat or blood running down a leg, it's natural to become concerned. However, maintaining a level head can help you determine if you are dealing with an emergency or a problem that you can handle on your own.
If your horse is eating, moving, and otherwise acting properly, as well as having normal TPR (temperature, pulse, and respiration) numbers, everything should be OK. If the horse looks to be in discomfort, the bleeding does not cease after a fair amount of time, or any other unusual behavior concerns you, consult your veterinarian. Keep your veterinarian's phone number ready at all times.
While you wait for the vet, carefully tether or stable your horse and provide a peaceful environment for both of you. Remember, if your horse is acting in a way that might harm you, you must first protect yourself safe.
02 of 07
Scrapes are the most prevalent pasture injuries. Scrapes can happen for a variety of causes and result in hair and skin being sheared off. Sometimes only the hair is lost, or the scrape goes a little deeper, resulting in a red, irritated bald spot. These scratches normally heal on their own without leaving significant scars. They are unlikely to get infected if they just affect the top layer of the skin.
Cleaning the area with clean water is first-aid for small scrapes. Any extra dirt and grit may be washed away with a thorough hose rinse. Antibiotic ointment is typically unnecessary for a superficial cut since it might retain dirt. It's often advisable to let extremely superficial, small skin scratches heal on their own. If a scrape beneath the saddle or girth region has redness and/or swelling, it may be better to wait a few days before riding the horse.
03 of 07
Cuts can be life-threatening. Their severity is determined by where they are found, how polluted they are, and how deep they penetrate the tissue. If the incision is tiny and shallow, salt or clean water can be used to flush it out. Before using any ointments or salves to an open wound, consult your veterinarian. Some ointments might actually slow down the healing process if you're not careful. Deeper injuries may require dressing to keep the tissue clean during the first week or two of healing, however bandaging some sections of the horse's body might be challenging. A gauze dressing with a regularly changed leg wrap typically works well on legs.
Check cuts twice a day for symptoms of swelling or foul discharge, which might suggest infection. A veterinarian may be required to suture the cut depending on its length and depth. Stitches will speed up the healing process and minimize scarring. If possible, clean up the area and wait for the veterinarian. Always put your personal safety first. If the horse won't let you touch the affected region, the doctor may need to give him a sedative to keep him calm for the procedure. A tetanus booster would also help a horse with a deeper wound.
04 of 07
Veterinary care is required for larger, deeper incisions. Deep cuts can be caused by wire or broken fence rails, hard branches, and other sharp items. Any major wound, a wound with considerable bleeding or bleeding that will not stop, wounds affecting a joint or eye, or a wound that is causing evident discomfort or lameness in your horse should be seen by a veterinarian very once. Furthermore, if you are concerned about any other condition involving a breach in your horse's skin, you should get medical guidance from your veterinarian.
While healing, certain major lacerations may produce a condition termed proud flesh. Proud flesh, also known as horse exuberant granulation tissue, is abundant tissue that can obstruct normal wound healing and is ugly. Proper wound treatment (including bandaging) can help to prevent the formation of proud flesh, and if it does form, your veterinarian can assist to slow its progression.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Puncture wounds may appear minor and innocuous, but they should always be taken carefully due to their depth and the risk of life-threatening infection. Punctures can happen anywhere on the horse's body, including the sole of the hoof and the coronet band that runs along the top of the hoof. Harmful bacteria can develop deep inside the tissue and cause illness because they are difficult to clear out. Call your veterinarian if you feel your horse has a puncture wound. Because puncture wounds must heal from the inside out, careful treatment is necessary to prevent the puncture site from healing over and potentially trapping bacteria within. Any horse that has had a puncture wound should be given a tetanus booster.
06 of 07
When a horse collides with a solid object, such as a fence post or stall door, or is kicked by another horse, bruising or swelling under the skin can occur. The majority of bruises will heal on their own. Several times a day, hosing the afflicted region with cold water might help to relieve the horse's pain. Stone bruising on the soles of the hooves may suggest that hoof trimming/shoeing practices need to be changed.
07 of 07
Check your pastures and for anything that might have caused the injury after you've had the vet out or offered first aid. Horses that are fighting to the point of harming one other may need to be separated. You might be able to avoid future injuries this way.