Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Cactus Spines or Multiple Thorns Stuck in Skin

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 lameness is noticeable at the walk.
  • If the problem seems severe, or involves a large area.

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

  • If the problem seems very mild and limited to a small area.
  • If you are not able to easily remove the spines, quills or thorns.

Cactus spines or thorns, like any other foreign body, are best carefully removed. If not completely removed, remnants left in the body can migrate and cause infection and abscess formation.

As with any foreign body or wound, the critical question is whether important anatomical structures are involved. If a joint or tendon sheath is penetrated, secondary inflammation and infection can result in severe lameness.

WHAT TO DO

If you choose to remove these yourself, assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), for a day or two afterwards, and reassess the injured area. If your horse shows any signs of illness, is lame or if the injured area appears reddened or inflamed, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will help you if the problem is severe or extensive or if you are not comfortable removing the spines or thorns yourself. In some cases, sedation can be helpful for removing many spines or thorns.

What Not To Do

Do not remove the spines or thorns yourself if it causes your horse undue stress. Removal of deeply embedded quills or thorns is extremely painful, and can be done under sedation by your vet.

I MIGHT ALSO OBSERVEOTHER OBSERVATIONS

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