Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Wound to Body, Neck or Back

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

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

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

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

  • If there is excessive bleeding.
  • If you wish to have the best functional and cosmetic outcome, no matter the cost.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse indicate fever (Temp>101F/38.3C) or heart rate greater than 48 BPM.

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

  • If you have questions about the healing of the wound.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Wounds to a horse’s body, neck or back are often caused by other horses. They commonly occur with horses kept in a herd or in horses with access to each other across a fence.

The majority of these injuries are minor and heal with minimal care because they occur in heavily muscled areas with good blood supply and good drainage, and do not involve vital structures. Bites and occasionally kicks make up the majority of these wounds.

Horses occasionally sustain injuries to this area when they roll, run into, or fall onto sharp objects. Attacks by predators are very rarely seen in certain geographic areas, but almost always involve young or small horses.

Sometimes, skin conditions like bacterial or fungal infections can be confused with traumatic injury. Quarter horses of certain bloodlines may acquire mysterious wounds which actually are a result of the genetic disease HERDA.

The concern with wounds along the top-line is poor drainage, which can result in slow or difficult healing. Very deep wounds may involve bone or other important structures. Veterinary repair of some large body wounds can save months of healing time. Some wounds may result in the formation of abscesses, hematomas or seromas that may need to be treated by a vet.

Keep in mind that wounds over the rib cage and belly can penetrate into the underlying spaces such as the chest (thorax) and abdominal cavity. Wounds penetrating these cavities are life-threatening and must be managed differently.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to attitude and appetite, normal movement, heart rate and rectal temperature.

Assess the wound, it’s location and appearance, degree of swelling and pain. Take a photo and send to your vet. It’s best to start by contacting your vet to determine whether a wound requires veterinary assessment and repair.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet assesses wounds by first considering the horse’s general health, then the location and characteristics of the wound. In some cases, they will recommend suturing of the wound. In others, they will recommend leaving it open to heal as an open wound. There are many factors that go into this decision.

In all cases, the vet considers important anatomy that may be involved in the wound and may complicate healing.

What Not To Do

Do not apply antibiotic ointments or other products to the injury, unless advised to do so by your vet. They may impede healing or may interfere with vet repair of the wound.

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending