Equine First Aid

Now the summer is here and horses are out and about more, wounds are increasingly more common. Wound management is something we deal with regularly in an emergency situation and before we arrive appropriate first aid and treatment can help speed the recovery from an injury and produce a better looking outcome with less scarring.

It is important to remain calm and to remain safe when dealing with an injured horse.  After the accident occurs or you discover a wound, move the horse to a safe place where there is access to clean water and good light.  If the wound is deep or bleeding profusely apply a dressing to slow the flow of blood and to keep the wound clean until the vet arrives.  If the wound is particularly dirty you can try to clean it by tricking cold water from the hose over the wound, but try to avoid driving the dirt deeper.  The cold water also acts to decrease any swelling. 

If you are concerned about the wound, please contact us to discuss it and arrange a visit.  It may be that we need to undertake a thorough examination of the wound, especially if it lies over any important structures or close to a joint or tendon sheath.  We will often        prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatories after seeing a wound to prevent infection and keep your horse comfortable. 

Any wound which occurs over a joint or near to tendons can be very serious as infection or damage to these structures can be career and life threatening.  These horses often require prompt management in hospital with the use of Ultrasound, x-rays and laboratory testing to assess the full extent of the damage.

One problem that can occur in horses with wounds is the development of proud flesh.  This occurs when the granulation tissue at the centre of a wound grows more quickly and isn’t kept in check by the skin cells at the edge of the wound. This will often need trimming to keep it under control whilst the skin grows.

 

Call the vet if the wound is:

  • Bleeding profusely
  • Through the full thickness of the skin and requires  stitching
  • Near a joint or tendon
  • Heavily contaminated with dirt
  • A small puncture wound - these can be very serious although small

 

Horse First Aid Kit

  • Roll of Cotton Wool
  • Sterile non-adhesive wound dressings
  • Conforming Bandage
  • Cohesive Bandage (Vetrap)
  • Clean Bucket
  • Thermometer
  • Scissors