For being such elegant animals, horses sure can be clumsy and accident-prone. Who hasn’t wondered how their horse got that type of wound there? Treating minor cuts, lacerations and lesions simply comes with the territory of being a horse owner. Erin Denney-Jones, DVM, answers questions on how owners can doctor minor wounds themselves. Pro-tip: Having the right wound care products helps!
Q: My horse came in from turnout with a wound on his leg. It looks like he scraped it somewhere. It doesn’t look serious, but it is oozing a little blood. What should I do?
A: The first thing you should do is identify how deep the wound is and if the vet needs to be called. If your horse can’t put any weight on the leg, if you see vital structures such as tendon or bone, or if you can’t control the bleeding, it’s an emergency situation and you should definitely call your vet! Of course, if there’s any question, always call your vet.
If the wound is superficial, the next thing you’ll want to do is clean it out and clean it out well. A product like Purishield Wound & Skin Care Fast Acting Spray can be great for this because it helps flush the wound while bringing relief and protection for up to 24 hours. A wound care ointment, or a product like Purishield Wound & Skin Care Intensive Care Gel, can then be applied to aid in healing. Finally, you’ll want to take steps to keep the wound clean and keep flies away. This can be accomplished with gauze pads and bandages, or if the wound is superficial enough, a liquid bandage like Purishield Wound & Skin Care Liquid Bandage Plus.
Q: Every horse owner should have a first-aid kit with wound care products. What wound care essentials would you want to see in that kit?
A: Something to clean the wound out; an ointment to place on the wound to promote healing; and to keep it clean, a gauze or a non-adhesive pad along with a gauze roll to keep it in place, and then a protective quilt and standing wrap or a self-sticking wrap like VetRap. Or if the wound is fairly shallow, a liquid bandage will work. If flies are a problem, you’ll finally want to have a repellent formulated for use around wounds.
Q: What do a good wound spray and wound ointment (or gel) do to aid in healing?
A: A good wound spray cleanses and flushes out dirt, debris and even bacteria. The spray nozzle on Purishield Wound & Skin Care Fast Acting Spray is great for this! Some horses are a little sensitive and don’t like their wounds being wiped. Having the spray nozzle worked really well for those horses.
A good wound ointment or gel has antibacterial or antifungal—or both—properties. And wound products shouldn’t have any cytotoxic ingredients—meaning cell-killing ingredients—that could affect the edges or interior of the wound.
Q: What types of injuries could benefit from a wound spray?
A: Any injuries unless it’s an injury that involves structures like a joint or tendon—leave that to a veterinarian! But for horse owners, wound sprays can be used to clean out any wounds and get rid of the gravel, dirt and grit. It’s great to have something like that to clean the wound.
Q: What’s the difference between the Fast-Acting Spray, the Intensive Care Gel and Liquid Bandage Plus by PuriShield?
A: The Fast-Acting Spray cleanses and treats wounds—wounds that have some pockets to them that you want to flush out. The Intensive Care Gel is for helping treat deeper wounds—wounds that can’t be sutured and for skin abrasions. The Liquid Bandage Plus works like a skin adhesive over the top of the wound to keep the skin covered and able to heal—but without having to wrap it!
Q: What signs would indicate your horse’s wound is healing well?
A: I tell my clients to look for pink skin covering the raw, reddened, meat-looking type wound. Once you see that pink skin, you know your horse is probably in good shape and you’ve done a good job of treating the wound.
Erin Denney-Jones, DVM
Florida Equine Veterinary Services, Inc.