How To Treat An Open Wound On A Horse; First Aid Of Wounded Horse

How To Treat An Open Wound On A Horse?This is a important question open to all people, adults and children, who love their horses when they get wound.Historians write that 12 million horses were used in World War II. Very few of them returned home. In This Article we are going to share the first aid treatment of wounded horse.

Apply Antiseptic Ointment

After cleaning the wound, apply a thin layer of antiseptic ointment to help prevent infection and promote healing. Products such as chlorhexidine cream or a veterinary-approved wound dressing can help keep the wound clean and protected. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label for proper application.

The most common problem for horses walking in levadas and pastures is injuries. The leading positions here are occupied by various punctures, cuts, lacerations and other wounds of the soft tissues of the extremities, as well as hooves. For some inexplicable reason, horses are very fond of scratching themselves on a pole where a nail has been driven poorly, or lying down under a fence/iron fence, or even worse, trying their hand at overcoming non-standard obstacles.

There are many cases where horses got stuck and were seriously injured when trying to “get away” from the levada, not only in the traditional way through the top, but also by crawling under the poles. In most cases, such injuries can be avoided if the walking area is initially carefully checked for the presence of dangerous objects – glass, fittings, etc., and if it has reliable and at the same time safe fences around the perimeter.

Horses sense electric current in wires very well from a distance, and they do not have the desire to misbehave and leave the grazing area without permission. Materials from which it is strictly not recommended to make levada fences include wire, especially barbed wire, as well as sheet iron.

First aid

If the horse is injured, you should not panic under any circumstances, since even the most urgent veterinary assistance will still take some time to get to you. Therefore, you should always have a veterinarian’s phone number, a basic first aid kit and a clear action plan at hand. All first aid measures for a horse can be divided into general, which is suitable for any wounds, and specific or additional, which may vary depending on which area is injured. To begin with, any wound is cleaned of dirt and sand. If a limb is injured, this can be done with plain water from a hose, at low pressure, or by gently washing the area of ​​the body with a gauze or cotton swab.

At this stage, it is important to stop the bleeding, if any, and also try to assess the extent of the injury. With most superficial wounds that do not affect large subcutaneous vessels, bleeding is not severe and stops almost on its own. However, if a major vascular line is affected, blood flows out in a constant stream (venous vessel) or even pulsates (arterial vessel). In this case, regardless of the type of damaged vessel, the bleeding is stopped either by applying a tourniquet if the wound is on a limb, or by applying pressure to the wound.

A tourniquet on a horse’s limb is always placed above the wound, most often in the middle of the metacarpus/metatarsus, if the wound is in the hoof or fetlock area; or on the forearm/calf if the wound is below the carpal/hock joints. As a tourniquet, you can use any small diameter rubber tubes, or, in extreme cases, an elastic bandage for the legs.

To prevent skin necrosis and injury to the underlying tissues, a padded pad should be placed under the tourniquet, and the time of its use should not exceed 1.5-2 hours. In cases where the use of a tourniquet is impossible, either a pack of sterile gauze wipes, a bandage or even a cotton roll wrapped in gauze is tightly pressed to the cleaned wound (depending on its size). Pressure is applied to the wound for about 20-30 minutes, after which they gradually try to loosen it and check whether the bleeding has been stopped.  

In general, all deep and large cuts (more than 1 cm in depth and 3 cm in length), as well as extensive lacerations and wounds with severe bleeding, usually require surgical debridement or sutures, for which you should contact your veterinarian without delay. and then follow his instructions in the future.

Washing wounds with antiseptic solutions

The next stage of wound treatment is washing with antiseptic solutions. For these purposes, it is recommended to use a 1% povidone-iodine solution or a 0.05% aqueous chlorhexidine solution, but a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is also suitable. The advantage of the first two solutions is that they not only have a wide

m antibacterial effect, but also antifungal, which is important for injuries to the hooves and lower extremities, which, as a rule, are contaminated with soil and manure, where, in addition to bacteria, there are a lot of spores of dangerous bacilli and fungi. In case of wounds on the head, in the eyelid area and close to the eyes, care must be taken to ensure that an antiseptic such as hydrogen peroxide or chlorhexidine does not come into contact with the cornea.

To do this, before washing the wound, much less treating it with a spray, put any antibacterial eye ointment into the eye. If it is still necessary to treat wounds of the skin of the eyelids and other tissues of the eye, then you can only use a weak aqueous solution of povidone-iodine (0.25%), a pale pink solution of potassium permanganate, a physiological solution of sodium chloride (0.9%) or, as a last resort, boiled water and drunk tea. In conclusion, all superficial and small wounds can be treated with special sprays such as: “Terramycin”, “Alumizol”, etc., which, along with antibacterial components, contain

substances that form a protective film. The same wounds that cause you doubts are best kept clean and slightly moisturized until the doctor arrives. To do this, apply a sterile gauze pad impregnated with one of the above aniseptics: povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine to a clean, treated wound surface, and secure it with a gauze bandage (if the wound is on a limb). You can try to temporarily close wounds on the head, neck or body using improvised material – a scarf, scarf, plaster, etc. In some cases, it will be enough to tie the horse at the turnout or in the stall, and irrigate the wound with antiseptics every 30 minutes until the doctor arrives.


Painkiller injections

In difficult situations, but only after agreement with the veterinarian and if you have sufficient experience, you can add injections of painkillers (such as analgin or baralgin), as well as a hemostatic drug (dicinone or etamsylate solution), to general first aid measures . Sometimes it may also be necessary to administer an antibiotic, especially if you and your horse are very far away in the area and the doctor will not be able to reach you soon. In this case, it is better to check the doses and frequency of administration of drugs in each specific case with your veterinarian and not self-medicate.

Rib fractures and deep chest wounds

Rarely, unsuccessful jumps can lead to a horse falling on its side, followed by broken ribs and/or deep wounds to the chest with perforation of the pleural cavity. In this case, the horse experiences a characteristic growing sound of air in the area of ​​the wound and signs of respiratory failure may appear – rapid breathing, cyanosis of the mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth. When providing first aid to such horses, you should try to clean the surface of the wound as quickly as possible with an antiseptic and seal it hermetically, for which a gauze bandage is applied to the wound, and a clean plastic bag is placed on top of it. A regular elastic bandage for the legs, which is tightly wrapped around the chest, will help to hold this structure.

Quickly and properly organized assistance will limit the absorption of air into the airless environment of the pleural cavity and, while waiting for the veterinarian, prevent collapse of the lung. Further treatment of such a horse should be carried out only with a veterinarian, since, most likely, intensive antibacterial and anti-inflammatory therapy will be necessary to combat pleurisy and pneumonia. And in the case of an already developed collapse of the lung, a special procedure will be required under the control of ultrasound equipment to straighten it and restore normal breathing.

Internal damage

Deep wounds in the abdominal wall are always dangerous, as they can cause peritonitis, hernia, and even prolapse of internal organs. Delay in calling a veterinarian or going to a clinic could cost your horse his life. Therefore, it is necessary to quickly provide first aid, which consists of treating the wound, and also, in the case of extensive and deep injuries, make a bandage for the horse. For these purposes, any large piece of clean cloth or sheet is suitable, which they try to wrap as tightly as possible around the stomach. Unfortunately, with intestinal prolapse, in most cases it is rarely possible to save a horse, since the resulting peritonitis very quickly turns into endotoxemia and severe laminitis.

Prevention of tetanus

Well, in conclusion, I would like to remind you about another, although rare, but extremely unpleasant complication of injuries and wounds – infection with tetanus. This is a very dangerous wound infection that is usually fatal, not only to horses, but also to humans. Moreover, the risk of infection always exists, because the pathogen is widespread in the soil.

Fortunately, we have access to effective prevention of this disease – vaccination, for which our country has both domestic and imported vaccines, which are well tolerated by animals without any complications and provide reliable protection for two years. Therefore, dear horse owners, without delay for later, and without hoping for “maybe”, check your horse’s veterinary documents, and, in the absence of such vaccination, hurry to correct the situation. Remember that even in times of crisis, you should not skimp on prevention, as this can have extremely adverse consequences for you!

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