Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wounds 101 (Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention for Horses)

Thehorse.com - Full Article

by: Casey Gruber, DVM
May 01 2010, Article # 17623

Warmer weather means that horses are getting more turnout time. Unfortunately, with increased activity all horses are at a higher risk of sustaining traumatic lacerations or other wound types. Some might appear more serious than others. Often the wound might be hours, days, or even weeks old before it is observed. Complications frequently develop as older wounds heal, and this can significantly impact your horse's ability to recover.

Clinical Signs

Depending on the location of the wound, horses can develop a variety of clinical signs. Often, horses with a new wound are painful and nervous (care should be taken when handling these horses to prevent further injury to the horse, you, and others around you). Alternatively, horses that have suffered a significant amount of blood loss, or had a foreign object (such as a tree branch) penetrate their abdominal or thoracic body cavities, might appear dull and lethargic, exhibit signs of colic, or have difficulty breathing. A horse with a leg wound might be reluctant to walk or might show signs of lameness. If a horse suffers eye damage or his eyelid function is compromised, his vision might be impacted.


A horse that has sustained a serious wound should be considered a true emergency and you should consult your veterinarian immediately for guidance. Wounds potentially involving joints, tendons/ligaments, tendon sheaths, hoof capsules, body cavities, or eyes should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately, as trauma to these areas can lead to severe problems and even threaten your horse's life.

The wound location, its duration (how old it is), and degree of tissue damage will influence your veterinarian's wound treatment recommendations...

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