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


Abrasion or Scrape, Anywhere on Body


Superficial abrasions or scrapes only involve the loss of hair and top layers of the skin. They do not involve bone, muscles or organs. Generally, these injuries heal well within a few weeks, but it depends on the area affected. How long hair takes to return to a site of injury also depends on the location, the depth of the scrape and other factors.

Keep in mind that mysterious abrasions can also be a sign of underlying conditions. For example, horses that have experienced an episode of abdominal pain (colic), can be covered in scrapes as a result of rolling or getting up and down.

Abrasions or scrapes may just be the "tip of the iceberg." They can be the visible surface feature of a much worse injury. Scrapes of the lower limbs should be carefully evaluated because important anatomical structures lie just below the surface of the skin.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If there seems to be pain, swelling or lameness.
  • Code Green

    Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources
    • If you are convinced that the injury is minor and you notice no lameness or other problem.

your role


What To Do

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to the location of the injury and whether it is accompanied by lameness at the walk and trot. Take note of the degree of swelling and pain in an area.

When in doubt about the severity of any injury, contact your vet with your findings and concerns. In cases of significant swelling, lameness, or other signs of illness or abnormalities, your vet may want to examine your horse.

What Not To Do

Just because a scrape looks minor, do not ignore that there may be other, deeper injury.

your vet's role

Your vet considers the anatomy in an area of injury to determine the depth and significance of the injury.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Do you notice other signs of disease or injury?
  • Does the horse have a history of accident or injury?
  • Where exactly is the injury located?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • Can you send me a photo?
  • Do you notice any lameness?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP