Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Bandage Limb or Leg Wound

In many cases, bandaging lower limb wounds helps keep them clean, reduces swelling and enables the development of a moist wound environment that may improve healing.

Procedure

After you have cleaned the wound, dried it and applied an appropriate dressing, gently wrap conform or Kling® gauze around the dressing to keep it in place. Elasticon may be helpful to adhere the Conform under-bandage to the skin to keep it in place.

Lay the Elastic tape down with only slight tension, and press it to the skin to adhere it. Wrapping direction is not critical, but for consistency I recommend you wrap the "flexor tendons" inward, meaning that you wrap the left legs counterclockwise and the right legs clockwise.

With each turn, overlap the tape by about half the tape’s width. Loosely apply Elasticon® to top and bottom of the conform or Kling® gauze to adhere it to the skin.

Now lay the rolled leg cotton bandage around the limb, keeping it as flat as possible.Starting about one inch below the top of the cotton, begin wrapping the Vetrap™ with enough tension to smooth out the dimples on the front of the bandage. With each turn, overlap the tape by about half the tape’s width.

Increase pressure slightly each time you make a turn around the front of the limb and reduce this tension slightly when wrapping the back of the leg (to avoid placing too much pressure on the tendons). Work your way down to within an inch of the bottom of the cotton, then begin working your way back up until you run out of Vetrap™.

Finally, lay down Elasticon® with a little tension, on the top and bottom of the bandage and onto the skin. Press it down to adhere it as well as possible to the skin and to itself.

Tips for safety & Success

Keep your materials in a box or carry-all but keep them out of the way of the horse. Take the plastic wrap off the Vetrap™ before you begin.

Before you bandage, ensure that the wound is dry using a gentle dabbing action with a clean paper towel. Apply the dressing your vet recommends. To hold the dressing in place, I prefer the more elastic Conform gauze (over Kling® gauze), because it makes a more form fitting dressing. Your outer bandage should start as low as possible on the limb, at ground level.

Always place adequate padding under the bandaging tape. The lower end the wrapping should be an inch or so from the edge of the cotton so there is not direct pressure from the Vetrap™ on the skin. The finished wrap should be smooth and unwrinkled - and it should be redone if there are significant wrinkles or creases.

Stand outside of the plane of your horse's limb at all times. Be ready to move out of the way by only having one knee on the ground at a time. Have an assistant at the horse's head on the same side as you are at all times.

When in doubt, do not perform this skill without seeking additional guidance from your vet or trainer. A poor or improper support wrap or bandage can do more harm than good. Your vet will guide you as to how long the bandage can stay on between changes.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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