When a horse suffers a wound, the owner should first assess whether it can be treated at home or if a veterinarian is needed. Minor lacerations or abrasions can be cleaned with saline solution, covered with ointment, and bandaged. More serious horse wounds involving deep punctures or damage to bones or ligaments should be seen by a vet. Pressure can be applied with a clean cloth to stop bleeding before analyzing the injury. Antibiotics might be needed to prevent infection when treating a horse wound.
Cleaning a horse wound is the first step in emergency treatment. Sterile saline solution should be part of the horse owner’s first aid kit, but contact lens solution or water can serve as a substitute. The wound should be flushed to remove any dirt or debris and prevent infection. An injury to a horse might not bleed much, especially puncture wounds. If bleeding occurs, it might be controlled by applying pressure before cleaning the injured area.
Cuts or punctures to muscle can typically be treated with a disinfectant and ointment, such as petroleum jelly. If an injury occurs on the legs, stomach, or chest area, it might need special attention because internal organs or ligaments might be affected. When these areas are damaged, or when dirt cannot be removed from a deep horse wound, a vet should be called.
Abrasions can usually be handled by cleaning a horse wound and applying ointment. The owner should watch for any sign of pain or swelling that might indicate infection. A veterinarian might prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and aid healing. If scarring becomes an issue, a vet should be sought.
A horse wound to bones or joints usually need professional treatment to prevent lameness, including X-rays to assess damage. When a leg is injured, the opposite leg might be wrapped to help support the animal’s weight during healing. Exercise should be withheld to allow muscles, tendons, or ligaments time to completely heal.
Tetanus vaccinations twice each year might protect against infection from a horse wound. Bacteria found in a horse’s feces could enter a wound when the animal rests. Other preventative measures might lessen the risk of a horse wound happening.
Pieces of metal or nails that protrude from fencing should be removed from stalls and arenas. Some horse owners prefer electric fencing instead of barbed wire to prevent injury. Anything that might provoke a fall should also be kept out of a horse’s living or exercise area.