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Minor Wounds

My horse has a small wound, can I treat it myself at home or is it best to see a vet?

Horse wounds are very common and many can be treated quite easily at home. Knowing whether or not to call a vet out really depends on the nature of the wound.

If the wound is over or near a joint, over 5cm in size or deep with excess discharge it is advisable to call Bourton Vale Equine Clinic and seek veterinary advice. In addition, if the horse is very lame on the leg with the wound  veterinary advice should also be sought.

However, the majority of small wounds can be treated successfully by owners at home. It is important to have the horse in a clean environment and follow high standards of hygiene. If the horse has wounded itself in the field then it would be good to bring it into a clean, dry stable if possible. This will help a proper assessment of the wound.

Superficial wounds need to be cleaned thoroughly. This can be done by using very dilute hibiscrub in warm water or very dilute iodine in warm water. The area around the wound can be scrubbed well to remove any debris but the wound itself needs to be cleaned gently. Once the wound is well cleaned it should be dried well with paper towel. There are many different creams that can be applied to simple wounds such as flamazine. What ever the cream used it should be non drying and non irritating.

Some wounds can be left unbandaged, however there are some that are better off being bandaged such as wounds on the distal limb. This is because the horse can often cause more damage to the area. These can be bandaged with a light bandage using a non adhesive pad on the wound, soft cotton wrap and a light layer of vet wrap. For wounds on the leg it is advisable to place stable bandages on the affected limb as well as the non affected limb. This prevents the bandage being rubbed and slipping as well as helping prevent against swelling.

Small wounds that do not need to be stitched should heal relatively quickly. If you think a wound is taking too long to heal then you should ring your vet for advice.

Please don’t hesitate to call one of our Bourton Vale Equine Clinic vets for advice or a visit if you are not confident of assessing how serious a wound is or of dealing with it yourself.

It is better to be safe than sorry and have these managed well from the start to prevent infection or wound breakdown and also to check if there is anything more sinister involved.

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