Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Wound to Muzzle, Nose or Nostril

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 you wish to have the best functional and cosmetic outcome, no matter the cost.
  • If the wound is large or causing the horse distress.

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

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

As horses forage and interact, they naturally place their muzzles in harm’s way. For this reason, wounds to this area are common. Like other face wounds, wounds to the muzzle usually heal well unless they are complicated by a foreign body or infection.

That said, the best cosmetic outcomes can still be expected when these wounds are promptly surgically repaired. Certainly, if a wound seems severe or large, there is a loose flap of skin, or the skin folds that make up the normal alignment and function of the muzzle or nose seem disrupted, then it should definitely be assessed by your vet.

WHAT TO DO

Assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and look for other wounds. Lift the lips to be sure that there is not obvious injury inside the mouth or involving the front teeth. Assess the wound, looking for any evidence of debris or a foreign body. If possible, gently cleanse the wound with dilute antiseptic solution or straight saline. If you have a doubt about the severity of the wound, take a picture and send it to your vet for their assessment.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet assesses the wound and determines whether surgical repair is the best option. Horses that suffer repeated wounds to the lips and face may be falling. Sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders may need to be considered.

What Not To Do

Do not apply any antibiotic products to the injury, unless advised to do so by your vet.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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