Helpful advice on how to deal with a wound and what to do whilst waiting for the vet.

Wound management

Should you be in the unfortunate situation where your horse receives a nasty wound when out and about or on your yard, here are a few steps to help you tackle the inevitable.

  • First of all, keep calm and ensure personnel safety at all times.
  • Adequately restrain and move your horse to a safe area to prevent further injury.
  • Briefly assess the injury.
  • Call us on 01772 861300 and relay your findings – this will allow us to be better prepared and give you some advice until we can get there.
  • Always have a plan for transport and insurance papers handy.
  • Bigger dramatic wounds aren’t necessarily more serious – small puncture wounds can penetrates deep tissues.
equine wound

Bandaging a wound

In an emergency, it doesn’t matter what the bandage looks like but an overtight bandage may cause damage, especially if left on for over 2 hours. You must ensure:
  • The injured area is protected
  • The bandage fits snugly and is well padded
  • There is even pressure over tendons
  • There is no pressure over bony prominences e.g. at the back of the knee
  • Soft tissues in the opposite limb are supported

Dealing with bleeding

Spurting blood: Aim to quickly stop the flow. Use hand pressure if this is all you have available. Ideally a clean sterile pressure bandage should be applied.

In the case of an emergency use a piece of gamgee and then a tight ‘Vetrap’. This can be safely left in place for up to 2 hours until veterinary attention is sought.

Minor bleeding: Wounds: the initial treatment should comprise of gently cleaning using gentle hosing or bathing with clean cotton wool or swabs in a very dilute saline solution. A tea spoon of salt to 1 litre of water. Using iodine/hibiscrub solutions can damage the tissues if not sufficiently diluted and be very cautious about any product around the eyes.

Obvious blood, soil and other debris should be removed from around the wound. Once cleaned a sterile dressing can then be applied until the veterinary examination can take place. Leg wounds obviously lend themselves to bandaging but wounds on the body do not.