Horse wound care do’s and don’ts

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Finding that your horse is injured isn't something that any horse owner wants to experience.

Unfortunately, it can happen more often than we'd like, so knowing the correct treatment is essential. 

Here, we've asked Dr Patrick Pollock, a vet from Dick Vet Equine, Georgie Holls, the founder of the Veterinary Wound Library, and Bandaging Angels, for their wound care do's and don'ts. 

DO:

  • Stay calm and call your vet
  • Have a clean wound kit that you can access quickly
  • Wash the wound
  • Get your horse somewhere clean and safe, unless your vet advises against moving him
  • Consider a graft if your vet suggests one. Surgery may be more expensive in the short term, but may be less costly than months of bandages if a wound is left to close naturally
  • Keep sending your vet photo updates during the healing process, if they find this helpful

DON’T:

  • Put off calling your vet for advice
  • Use any ointments, oil- or grease-based wound dressings before your vet has seen a wound. They won’t be able to close it if you do
  • Use anything dirty to clean or dress a wound, including your hands. Don’t use cotton wool – it will leave fibres behind
  • Remove large foreign bodies from wounds. Instead, don’t move your horse and call your vet
  • Ignore clear fluid coming from a wound near a joint
  • Ignore lameness associated with a wound
  • Refuse an x-ray on cost. It lets vets know what they’re dealing with and can save money in the long run
  • Expect antibiotics as they’re not always needed – a clean wound is often much more powerful

Wound care

Read more advice 

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We have a wound-care special in the latest issue of Your Horse magazine (Spring, Issue 436), where we take a closer look at how to care for wounds. 

Order the latest issue

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here.