Wounds in Horses

WARNING - This blog contains images of blood and wounds which some viewers may find disturbing.

How I dealt with my horse's wound after she took down a fence

As beautiful and majestic as horses are, I think we can all agree they aren't the smartest creatures to walk this earth. They get can frightened easily by something so small and do things we would never expect them to, which unfortunately means they can sometimes get themselves into trouble. 

Wether you have experienced the joys of having an injured horse, or want to be prepared or better armed with knowledge when that day comes, then this blog is for you. This is my experience and how I dealt with everything when my mare suddenly for no big reason at all, decided it would be a great idea to see what her limits were compared to a fence. 

Buckle Up! 
In this article I will explain the steps I took help my mare heal quickly from what was only minor flesh wounds, I will also show photos so make sure you aren't squeamish!

Disclaimer

I am not a vet. Always consult your veterinarian first if you feel the need to do so. This is purely my personal experience.

Day One 

My mare Willow, is paddocked about 100m down the street from where my house is, so of an afternoon I would bring her home and tether her to have an eat of some grass while I watched her from my porch. One Friday evening (they always injure themselves on Friday nights) while I was eating dinner while watching her, she decided it was time to go home. So she simply breaks the bailing twine she was tied to and starts to sneakily speed walk back to her paddock. She had the long rope trailing behind her, so the cowboy in me decided it was a great idea to run after her and attempt to grab the rope before she could cross the street. 

Of course she took off as soon as she saw me coming and tried to gallop around a corner on tarmac, and ran straight into the neighbours fence which was made up of wire and wooden posts ..... two of which she snapped like carrot sticks. 

   
 

Thankfully, after she had struck the fence she stopped and waited for my help, but the damage was done.

After rescuing her from the fence and bringing her back to the house for treatment I rang the after hours vet who was not all that helpful. So we decided to clean her wounds with iodine antiseptic and a cold hose. We covered the main wound in a cotton wool pad with some salon cream and made a bandage from sticky marine tape around her leg to keep it covered for the night.... which of course was gone the next morning. 

Day Two

I called a couple of vets the next day asking for advice on what to do, and based on their advice and hours of researching I came up with a plan of how I was going to help my mare recover.

Firstly, I needed to administer a tetanus shot. I drove down to my closest veterinarian clinic and picked up a syringe with the tetanus vaccination, as well as a widely-used antiseptic spray meant for wounds called "Chloromide". 

I returned home and realised I had forgotten to ask the vet to explain to me how to give a tetanus vaccination, so I got on Facetime and called my aunty all the way from New Zealand who has had experience with this sort if thing, and was able to safely and successfully give the injection. 

Here's what the wound looked like on the second day....                                                  

         

 My simple, yet effective daily wound care plan:

1 Cold hose the wound and other cuts directly twice a day - Unlike most people, my paddock did not have easy access to clean water and a hose (Willow drinks from a trough), so instead I borrowed a weed sprayer off my Mum which she had not yet used. This was a complete lifesaver, especially because it meant I did not have to walk Willow up to the house with a sore leg twice everyday. The sprayer was able to carry more than enough water I needed, as well as allow me to manually pressurise the water just like a hose would. I would highly recommend trying this if you don't have quick easy access to a hose! (I will also mention that I did shave the hair around the wounds to make seeing the skin around easier)

 

Spray on Chloromide - I used the pink TROY Chloramide spray from my local vet, you should be able to find it at your nearest vet or pet store. This stuff is seriously good!! After hosing off the wound and cuts I would then spray on the Chloramide as it does two very important jobs; an antiseptic to help keep infection at bay, as well as an insect repellent to keep all those nasty flies from hanging around the wound. This spray is great for all cuts, big or small! 

Chloramide spray

 

Let the wound heal itself! - I was advised by my veterinarian to not attempt to bandage her wounds, seeing as it was in an awkward spot where the bandage could fall off easily or potentially be a rubbing hazard to the wound itself. It turns out leaving the wound open was perfectly fine as it was protected from insects and other nasties (with the spray). Once a scab forms, it acts as a protective shield anyway. Be aware of the possibility of proud flesh which can be a problem, fortunately the location of this wound is less prone to proud flesh.  

Day 3 

Look at that yummy flap of skin starting to shrivel up and die!

Day 4 

The swelling had well and truly set in by this point. Her hind leg (same leg this main wound was on) had become swollen all over. This is not because of the wound itself but rather the trauma that ones body would experience after ploughing through a fence. Swelling + heat + bruising = lameness. 

Shown below is an image of the full hind inside leg which is swollen ...

...and the other inside leg for comparison which had no swelling present 

Lameness and stiffness had set in so I decided to call my veterinarian and ask for advice yet again, to which I concluded it was necessary for him to come out and assess how the wound was progressing, just to ensure there was no signs of infection.

My vet thought it would be best to prescribe her with a short course of oral phenylbutazone (aka "Bute") twice daily in her feed to serve as an anti inflammatory. As well as a short course of twice daily penicillin injections to lower the risk of a bacterial and staph infection, just to be on the safe side ... I guess you could say I got pretty comfortable with injections after this, and Willow was a very good patient.

Fast forward ... 

Day 7

As you can see, a large area around the wound had become dry, and scabby and started to crack and flake off. Don't worry, this is normal as the skin around the would had also probably suffered some abrasion. After this point, I no longer needed to hose the wound thoroughly twice a day. Instead, I would hose and spray every second day for the next few days. As the healing progresses it required less and less intervention.

Days 12 & 18

Horse wound healing

    horse wound healing

Days 20 & 22

horse wound healing   horse scab

Day 24

horse wound

Looking so good!! Hair had grown back, swelling and lameness was no more, horse was happy and running around, scab has no proud flesh and is healing nicely as well as the overall size reduced. We were back to light riding at this stage. I would monitor the scab twice daily to make sure she hadn't ripped it off. I will also mention where I live is tropical Summer weather and storms at the time of this incident, so a rain coat for Willow was needed, however the leg strap of the rug would have gotten caught on the scab and ripped it off. So instead I would only fasten one leg strap and leave the other which seemed to suffice.

Fast forward some more...

Day 73

healed horse injury

A few months later...

Horse wound scar

 And here it is finally completely healed with nothing but a faint scar!! The healing process is one that the body progresses quickly with to start, and then slowly once there is no danger of infection the skin slowly repairs itself back to normal.

 

I hope you were able to learn something from reading this! Owning horses can be stressful at the best of times. If you have any experiences, thoughts of your own, or questions feel free to share them with us!

Thanks for reading 

- Emma ♡

 

cute horse | sunset | horse |

Injuries in horses - My Experience - Wild Rider

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