Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Biting at Bandage or Cast

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If the bandage is covering a critical repair or surgical site.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If this seems mild or occasional and the horse seems normal otherwise.

While most horses tolerate bandages well, some will chew or bite at their bandages or casts. This is a frustrating and damaging habit.

In some cases (especially when a horse has tolerated the bandage well but suddenly begins bothering it) savaging of the bandage is an indication of itchiness or discomfort caused by either the bandage itself, the dressing, or the underlying injury.

Horses that aggressively biting at casts can cause significant damage, delay healing or cause a new injury.

In all cases, the bandage and topical dressing needs to be carefully assessed to ensure that it is not causing undue discomfort or irritation. DMSO is a topical medication that can cause irritation. The wound or underlying injury must also be re-examined. Casts or bandages may need to be removed and replaced.

WHAT TO DO

Talk to your vet about how to prevent further disruption of the bandage or cast. Chew-stop sprays and paints can be applied to the bandage but every attempt must be made to keep these usually irritating substances off the skin. In some cases, the placement of a cradle or muzzle is required.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

In addition to knowing a variety of tricks and techniques to keep a horse from chewing its bandage, your vet will also carefully evaluate the bandage, cast or wound to determine whether anything can be done to make the horse less itchy or irritated.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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