When to Bandage Your Horse's Wound

Consider these three criteria when determining if a wound on your horse would be better off bandaged.

Your gelding scrapes the front of his hind cannon. Should it be bandaged? Use these criteria to help you decide how to handle any leg wound:

Click here to learn the phases of equine wound healing.

A grey horse with a read bandage on his knee eating hay.

Wounds that are pulled open with each step can benefit from bandages.

  • Depth. Wounds that penetrate all the way through the skin?enabling you to see the underlying tissues?provide deep access for infection-causing bacteria and are best covered until granulation tissue fills the gap.
  • Mobility. Wounds that are pulled open with each step can be stabilized with a bandage for faster healing. A wound on a knee, for instance, often benefits from a bandage.
  • Proximity to the ground. A wound on the pastern or coronary band is likely to become contaminated with dirt, or worse, manure, making it a candidate for bandaging. A gelding's hind cannon wound is a special case because urine splash can irritate exposed and healing tissue. A horse who often accumulates "splash crud" on his cannons will benefit from having wounds in that area bandaged.

Wounds that do not require bandaging can be protected from dirt, insects and bacteria with a thick, greasy ointment such as Desitin or ichthamol. It will need to be applied at least twice daily, but that still may be more convenient than bandaging.

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