Horses and wounds seem to go together. Whether it’s a laceration caused by a fence, a kick from another horse, or a cut of unknown origin you find after your horse has spent the night in his stall, owners often find themselves concerned about the wound healing properly.
Large or deep wounds or those located in critical areas (i.e. over joints or involving the eye) require immediate veterinary attention, but sometimes even the most innocuous cut can cause major problems if not dealt with correctly. For example, the skin that lies over the lower leg is under a lot of tension and has less underlying soft tissue to support its regrowth–conditions which can delay healing and lead to complications like proud flesh. The lesson horse owners should take from this is that even small wounds shouldn’t be ignored.
Cleanliness is key. All wounds should be flushed out to remove foreign material like dirt, grass and hair. Antiseptic wound cleansers like Hexadene Flush are ideal because they can help physically remove debris and kill the bacteria that inevitably are left behind. Next, a topical ointment that helps control infection and promotes tissue healing should be applied. A good option that does just this is called QuickDerm. Finally, the area should be lightly bandaged to prevent more contamination. A sterile, nonstick pad should be applied directly to the wound and topped by a layer of supportive and absorbent padding that is held in place with adhesive and water resistant bandages (never apply these too tightly).
Bandages need to be removed once or twice a day for wound monitoring and cleaning. If at any point you are concerned that your horse’s wounds are not healing the way they should, call your veterinarian.