Step-by-step guide to treating a wound

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It’s inevitable as a horse owner that at some point you might have to deal with a simple wound. Read on for seven tips to dress the wound and prevent infection.

  1. As soon as you find a wound, check your horse from head to toe to ensure it’s the only injury he has. The sooner you spot a wound, the quicker it can be cleaned and the more likely you are to prevent infection. If you find any foreign objects, such as wood splinters or a nail (don’t remove them), or the wound requires stitching, call your vet.

  2. If your horse’s coat is thick it can make it difficult to see, clean or treat a wound. If this is the case, using a set of small battery operated trimmers, trim around the wound area. To avoid further injury, make sure your horse is happy with the use of trimmers first. Once the area is trimmed it will make it easier to clean.

  3. Clean all open wounds as soon as possible as dirty wounds have a much higher rate of infection than clean ones. If you have no saline solution to clean the wound, don’t panic. Simple salt from the kitchen cupboard can work wonders. Just add a level teaspoon of salt per pint of previously boiled water that’s now lukewarm, and it does the job.

  4. To avoid infection, once a wound has been cleaned, cover it with a non-adherent dressing. If you’re unsure if there’s an infection, use a hot poultice such as Animalintex to draw out any pus, changing the dressing every 12 hours (click here for information on how to apply a poultice). If the pus doesn’t drain away, the wound might heal around it causing pressure and infection to build up, which can put your horse in extreme pain.

  5. It’s essential to have your horse vaccinated against tetanus – injuries such as a puncture wound caused by a rusty nail is ideal for tetanus to flourish undetected. Root out his vaccination record and check he’s up-to-date. To remind you when your horse’s vaccinations are due, download a horse health record

  6. When under the weather, all we want to do is cosy up in bed – your horse is the same. To keep his wound germ-free, make sure he has a clean environment. His stable should be hygienic with fresh bedding, and his droppings skipped out on a regular basis.

  7. If you are in any doubt about treating a wound, or your horse’s health deteriorates, consult your vet immediately


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