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


Wound to Cheek with Drainage or Swelling & Odor


A wound to the cheek, with drainage and swelling and with a noticeable odor may not be a simple wound at all. It may be a draining tract from an abscessed lower jaw cheek tooth. Less commonly, it could result from a foreign body or infected bone. A strong, pungent odor from a face wound often indicates bone involvement.

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your role


What To Do

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to attitude, appetite and rectal temperature. Take a photo of the wound to share with your vet.

What Not To Do

Do not apply antibiotic products to the wound unless advised to do so by your vet.

your vet's role

Your vet explores and probes the wound to determine its depth and orientation. They perform a thorough oral and dental exam. They may use other diagnostics, including x-ray, to determine whether there is involvement of a tooth or bone.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Does the discharge have a strong odor?
  • When did you first notice this problem?
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • Is the horse eating normally?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP