Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Wound to Back

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 are concerned by the size and severity of the wound.
  • If the wound occurred within the last 24 hours.

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.
  • If the wound occurred over 24 hours ago.

Wounds to the back usually occur from saddle trauma, or when a horse runs under a tree branch or sustains a bite from another horse. They can occasionally result from a fall.

The ability to drain away excess wound discharge is a critical part of wound healing. Drainage is often difficult for back wounds because of their orientation at the top of the horse. Due to this, wound drainage tends to pool, leading to other problems.

WHAT TO DO

Regardless, contact your vet to discuss the injury. In most cases, these wounds should receive prompt veterinary attention and be repaired, if possible. Talk to your vet about whether or not to begin flushing or cleaning the wound prior to their exam.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Surgical repair allows dead space to be filled via suturing, and drains to be placed to facilitate drainage. Your vet assesses each wound on its own merits to determine the options. Fresh wounds with large flaps of skin are often repaired. Older wounds without free tissue to cover them may be best left open.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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