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


Wound to Sheath or Penis


Wounds to the sheath or penis usually result from traumatic injury. As expected, these wounds are more common in breeding stallions. Breaks in the skin here can also result from a ruptured abscess. Because of the looseness of the tissue here, any wound to this area usually causes severe swelling of the sheath.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If you want the wound repaired cosmetically, no matter the cost.
    • If you are concerned by the size and severity of the wound.
    • If there is swelling and pain associated with this problem.
    • If the wound occurred within the last 24 hours.
  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If the wound occurred over 24 hours ago.

your role


What To Do

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to the rectal temperature and degree of pain and stiffness walking. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.
Assess the area and, if possible, gently clean a wound here with either a water hose, or with gentle scrubbing with an antiseptic soap followed by rinsing. If the wound just happened, wait to talk to your vet before doing any cleaning.

Since this type of wound may result from Pigeon Fever, treat any mysterious drainage or discharge as potentially contagious to other horses until you know otherwise, and take action to isolate the horse and contain the discharge.

your vet's role


Depending upon the nature of the wound and the degree of swelling, your vet may choose to leave a wound open in this location.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • When did you first notice this problem?
  • What is the appearance of the drainage?
  • Do you notice odor to the drainage or wound?
  • Is there any drainage?
  • Has this horse or other been diagnosed with Pigeon Fever in the past?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP