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


Bleeding from Lower Neck or Jugular Groove Area


Very large vessels (jugular vein and carotid artery) lie in the jugular groove on left and right sides of the equine neck. Wounds to these vessels can produce life-threatening blood loss in a very short period of time. That said, once bleeding is stopped (and if other important structures in this area are undamaged) wounds to this area generally heal well.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

your role


What To Do

Call your vet immediately and do not panic. Until your vet arrives, apply controlled pressure or a pressure bandage to stop or slow the bleeding. Keep your horse confined and calm.

Generally it is much easier to control bleeding in severed veins (low pressure blood flow towards the heart) than in severed arteries (high pressure blood flow away from the heart). With some exceptions, veins tend to be located closer to the skin while arteries are buried more deeply under muscle and other structures. Bleeding from a vein is darker red and running, without pulsation. Arterial bleeding is bright red, squirting and often pulsing.

your vet's role

Your vet may tie off (ligate) or repair a large vessel in the neck if it is lacerated. An important aspect of veterinary first-aid in situations of major blood loss is assessment and stabilization of the horse's circulation.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • How severe does the bleeding seem?
  • Where, exactly, is the wound located?
  • Are you able to stop or slow the bleeding with pressure?
  • Can you give me directions to get to you so I can examine the horse right away?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP