Some relatively common injuries occur to horses, and most horse owners will experience them at some point even when they are able to cater to the welfare of your horses.
When you encounter a horse with injuries, there are some that you can treat quickly and others that resolve on their own.
However, you may need to monitor the injury and consult a veterinarian with any concerns in some cases.
So, what are some of these common minor injuries that horses can sustain? Here are 5 of the most common horse injuries and how you can easily treat them.
1. Puncture Wounds
One of the first common injuries you may encounter with a horse is a puncture wound, different from a typical cut or scrape to the skin.
Puncture wounds usually have small holes in the skin, more often caused by a pointed object, like a nail.
The small holes can go deeper into the skin than a surface cut and cause infection. Therefore, they need to be treated differently.
They also can be challenging to spot on your horse because the opening can be small and already be scabbed over when you locate it.
More often than not, instead of bleeding from a puncture wound, you would see clear drainage or pussy coming from the hole, and the skin or tender area surrounding the wound gets swollen.
How To Treat Puncture Wounds: If you find a puncture wound on your horse’s leg, pay close attention to ensure that the injury is not near a joint.
If you discover that your horse is lame due to the wound, a veterinarian consultation for quick treatment would be appropriate to handle the injury in real time.
Also, if you find debris or a piece of the object still stuck in the wound, you need to be very cautious when removing it.
You need the following things to treat puncture wounds:
- Saline solution
- Poultice (for soreness)
First, you should water down the wound as much as possible, using a hose or a faucet. Then, use cold water to relieve swelling and clean for about twenty minutes. It will help clean the wound to get a better look at it.
If the puncture wound has scabbed over, you will need to peel the scab off carefully. It is necessary to do this because any fluid build-up in the area needs to be drained, and any risk of the extra debris, dirt, or anything else that could stay stuck in the wound and cause infection needs to get out.
Next, put the saline solution into a syringe, and stick it in the puncture to squirt it directly into the infected area to thoroughly clean the wound.
It would be helpful to have another person or two present to help you if your horse is opposed to it and ensure that no other animals are around the horse in case it tries to run or kick.
The saline works as an antiseptic, and then you can apply the poultice to any swollen areas around the wound – just be sure not to cover it up. Then you can cover the injury with a bandage.
Monitor your horse after administering treatment and re-treat the wound a couple of times each day, especially if your horse is active and the bandage gets dirty, and make sure to check for infection.
2. Cuts, Scrapes, or Abrasions
Another common injury that horses get is cuts, scrapes, scratches, and abrasions, which fall under the same category.
They may run into things, fall, get kicked by other animals, or in some cases, be bitten by another animal.
It is not a cause for alarm to see bite marks or cuts on your horse’s body. However, make sure you look at the area to ensure that the laceration is not too deep or the abrasion is causing your horse much pain.
How To Treat Cuts, Scrapes, and Abrasions: These types of injuries are probably the easiest to treat at home, without the need for a veterinarian.
However, if it is your first time or you are concerned with your ability to treat, you can always consider connecting with your vet for a quick treatment plan to understand if the cut is too deep, your horse could need stitches.
You will need the following items:
- Soap (preferably baby soap or something very mild)
- Insect repellent oil
- Antiseptic (just ensure that it is safe for horses)
The vets at Bond Vet simplify the process by sharing that one can start by thoroughly cleaning the wound by mixing soup in water and washing the injured area with a gentle sponge or washcloth.
Baby soap is preferred for horses since it doesn’t cause any stinging, which could cause the horse to jump back or try to run. Next, clean out any dirt you can see, and make sure nothing else is within the cut or abrasion.
Next, you should see clearly if your horse needs anything more than a simple dress for the wound.
Cuts that are more than ¼ inch deep will usually need stitches, but most of the time, you will be able to know this if you cannot get the wound to stop bleeding or if you can see any exposed nerves, veins, or bones under the skin.
Once the wound is clean, you can apply an antiseptic to help keep the cut free from infection. Again, the easiest is saline, but you can find other horse-safe antiseptics to use.
The last step is to apply the insect-repellent oil around the wound’s edges so that bugs won’t further aggravate the injured spots.
Monitor your horse and ensure that you see scabbing where the wound is, and continue to check for any sign of infections like pussing, swelling, or oozing at the site. If you need to, you can bandage the wound to make sure that no other debris, dirt, or anything gets within the infected area, but you will need to check and re-dress it often.
3. Muscle Soreness
It can be challenging to diagnose your horse with soreness in its muscles, but if you ensure that your horse gets plenty of rest, you may never see this injury. Most of the time, if you overwork your horse, have it carry too much weight, or wear a saddle that does not fit, it is when you will find that it experiences soreness.
How To Treat Muscle Soreness: Give your horse plenty of time to rest, rub some liniment on the sore area, or consult with an equine massage therapist for assistance in treating the sore muscles. Liniment is a liquid that helps absorb the muscles and promotes warmth, providing relief and comfort. Massage is also another great option.
4. Corneal Ulcers
Corneal ulcers are more commonly referred to as a scratch to the eye, which can happen anytime a horse gets debris in its eyes.
The horse usually won’t want to open its eye, and you may notice swelling or draining from its eyes. Since the eyes are delicate, you should probably consult a veterinarian for treatment.
How To Treat Corneal Ulcers: Make your horse as comfortable as possible by using saline solution to watch out for the eye and remove any debris or dirt that you can locate that may have caused the scratch.
The vet will then do an exam, provide you with medication to put on the eye a few times a day, and advise you to keep the horse’s eye from sunlight.
5. Stocked Up Legs
Horses get stocked up legs when they are not active, causing the legs to become stiff and move slowly. Bad circulation causes this because fluid build-up occurs when your horse is inactive.
How To Treat Stocked Up Legs: Make sure to give your horse exercise every day to help improve the increase in circulation. You can also apply liniment to the stocked-up area when you notice that it moves slowly or gets up with difficulty.
When using these treatment techniques, if you notice that nothing is working or are concerned that the injury is getting worse, it is time to call your veterinarian.
The simple cleaning and dressing of the injured area should often be enough to get your horse back up on its feet and feel good to go.
Then, you may be a little more cautious in the future to ensure preventive measures are taken to avoid more injuries in the future.
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