What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Biting at Wound


Horses sometimes bite at healing wounds, particularly on their body, chest and forelegs. This is much more common in horses that have sustained severe or complicated, infected wounds that are painful or itchy.

If a horse tries, they can reach most wounds. Their flexibility and reach is surprising. In some cases, they will even bite at and damage healing hind limb wounds.

Obviously this is not desirable behavior, especially when it involves surgical sites, or wounds in which a great effort has been made at surgical repair. In some cases, horses can cause critical damage to wounds involving vital anatomic structures. In minutes, a horse can tear apart a wound that has been healing well.

The wound will need to be protected with bandaging, or another method like a cradle may need to be used to prevent the horse from reaching the wound.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

your role


What To Do

If you notice this happening, call your vet immediately to discuss the best course of action. If necessary, have someone hold the horse or tie it until your vet arrives.

What Not To Do

Do not apply repellent chemicals to wound or skin without knowledge that they are safe.

your vet's role

Your vet typically will first evaluate and treat the wound as needed. Then they will discuss various methods with you, to protect the wound from more self-inflicted trauma.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Do you have access to a cradle or muzzle?
  • What is the horse's history?
  • When did you first notice this behavior?
  • Where exactly is the wound and tell me more about it?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP