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


Biting at Bandage or Cast


While most horses tolerate bandages well, some will chew or bite at their bandages or casts. This is a frustrating and damaging habit.

In some cases (especially when a horse has tolerated the bandage well but suddenly begins bothering it) savaging of the bandage is an indication of itchiness or discomfort caused by either the bandage itself, the dressing, or the underlying injury.

Horses that aggressively biting at casts can cause significant damage, delay healing or cause a new injury.

In all cases, the bandage and topical dressing needs to be carefully assessed to ensure that it is not causing undue discomfort or irritation. DMSO is a topical medication that can cause irritation. The wound or underlying injury must also be re-examined. Casts or bandages may need to be removed and replaced.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If the bandage is covering a critical repair or surgical site.
  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If this seems mild or occasional and the horse seems normal otherwise.

your role


What To Do

Talk to your vet about how to prevent further disruption of the bandage or cast. Chew-stop sprays and paints can be applied to the bandage but every attempt must be made to keep these usually irritating substances off the skin. In some cases, the placement of a cradle or muzzle is required.

your vet's role

In addition to knowing a variety of tricks and techniques to keep a horse from chewing its bandage, your vet will also carefully evaluate the bandage, cast or wound to determine whether anything can be done to make the horse less itchy or irritated.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Do the wounds seem to be healing normally?
  • Can you detect swelling or heat in the area?
  • Does the horse show any signs of lameness or resistance to move?
  • Does the wound seem to be healing?
  • Do you have any chew-stop spray that you could apply?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP