Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Accident, Horse Impaled on Post

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

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

    This type of accident is more common than one may expect, and ranges greatly in severity. The most important factor is the location and depth of the wound and the structures involved. These injuries can be life-threatening if they involve an important internal organ or structure.

    If the horse is resting quietly while impaled, simply comfort it until your vet arrives. More commonly, the horse is struggling to free itself. If the horse is struggling and you think it will further injure itself, it may be best to free it. It is tempting to simply pull the horse off the post or rip the post out of the horse. This can cause severe injury in itself.

    If it is possible and safe to do so, cut the post off from its base or foundation and leave it in your horse until your vet can evaluate it and remove it under controlled conditions. Use a hack saw or electric metal saw to cut the post.

    If you absolutely must remove your horse from the post (or the post from your horse), understand that this may complicate your vet’s attempt to determine what internal structures have been impacted. It may also drastically increase bleeding. For that reason, if you choose to remove the object, be prepared to stop or slow significant bleeding using direct pressure with gauze or a towel.

    Your vet may remove the object and debride (surgically remove) any badly damaged tissue. They will monitor or stabilize your horse’s overall systemic health and may use radiography, ultrasound or exploratory surgery to further clarify the extent of the damage.

    The better your horse’s physical exam findings, the less likely important organs are involved.

    Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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