wikiHow to Heal a Cut on a Horse

Three Methods:Treating the Wound at HomeConsulting a VeterinarianPreventing Further Injury

Horses are helpful to humans in many ways. They help us with our work and get us from place to place. Today, horses are more for entertainment and pleasure than for productivity. When horses become injured, it can be a scary situation. Even if the cut seems minor, you should probably consult your vet. If you can't immediately seek medical attention, there are steps you can take to treat the wound yourself.

Method 1
Treating the Wound at Home

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    Prepare a basic first aid kit. It is very common for horses to suffer from minor cuts and wounds. Most horse owners have to deal with the situation regularly. If you own a horse, it is a good idea to keep some basic first aid supplies handy.[1]
    • Your kit should include some clean towels, surgical gauze, and surgical tape. You can also keep duct tape on hand.
    • In your kit, you should also include scissors, petroleum jelly, and ointment. Consider making sure that you have a bottle of sterile saline solution in the kit.
    • Your kit should hold Betadine, which is a disinfectant. You will also need tweezers and q-tips. If you travel with your horse, keep a portable first aid kit in your truck as well as at home in your stable.
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    Clean an open wound. Horses frequently rub up against things that can injure them, such as barbed wire. If you see that your horse is actively bleeding, there is an open wound. If you notice that your horse has an open wound, you need to clean it.[2]
    • Use sterile saline solution to clean the wound. Pour some on a clean towel and dab or pat the wound.
    • The purpose of cleaning the wound is to get rid of any surface bacteria. While you are cleaning, you can try to assess the severity of the wound.
    • When washing a wound, pour plenty of fluid on it. Let the excess fluid wash away onto the ground. In a pinch, contact lens solution can work as your saline solution.
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    Heal a puncture wound. Puncture wounds can be serious injuries. These wounds are caused when your horse is punctured by a sharp object, such as a sharp piece of glass. If the wound is on the abdomen or chest, contact your vet immediately.[3]
    • If they puncture is on the upper leg or hip, you can attempt to treat the wound yourself. Slow or stop the bleeding by pressing gently on the wound with clean towels or gauze.
    • If the wound does not appear to be very deep, you can try to wash it with saline solution. You can try to measure the depth of the wound using a q-tip. If that causes discomfort for your horse, stop immediately.
    • Do not try to remove a foreign object from the wound yourself. You may unintentionally cause more damage. If there is an object stuck in your horse, wait for the vet to come before trying to treat the wound.
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    Use the "four Cs". For simple cuts, you can likely treat your horse yourself. But unless you have a background in veterinary medicine, you should also contact your vet at some point. When you are dealing with a wound, you can remember the proper steps by thinking of the four Cs. [4]
    • The first "C" stands for "calm". It can be scary to see your horse wounded, especially if he is bleeding. But keep your cool, so that you don't frighten your horse.
    • The second "C" stands for "clean". Using your saline solution, clean the wound. The third "C" stands for "compression". Wrap the clean wound with a compression bandage from your kit.
    • Finally, the last "C" stands for "contact". Contact your vet whenever your horse is wounded. Even if the cut is minor, it is better to be safe than sorry.
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    Give your horse time to heal. Even if it appears minor, a wound can cause great discomfort for your horse. It is important to be patient and allow him time to heal. It will take several days, at a minimum, for your horse to return to normal.[5]
    • You will need to keep your horse confined to his stall to keep from overexercising. Consult your vet about the proper length of time for confinement.
    • While your horse is resting, keep his wound clean. Change the bandages regularly, even if the bleeding has stopped.
    • Let your horse take it easy until he is fully healed. Even if he seems antsy, make him rest until your vet gives the ok to return to his normal routine.

Method 2
Consulting a Veterinarian

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    Find a trustworthy vet. When your horse is sick or injured, you will need a reliable vet to turn to. Make sure that you are prepared for any eventuality by having a vet you trust on call. Take steps to make sure you have a doctor you and your horse can rely on.[6]
    • Ask for recommendations. Talk to friends and family to see if they can refer you to an excellent equine physician.
    • Talk about treatment options. Will your vet always try the most aggressive option? Or does he take a more cautious approach?
    • Find out who will care for your horse if the vet is unavailable. It's always a good idea to know what the back up plan involves.
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    Have an action plan. It is important to be prepared for any eventuality. If your horse cuts himself, you will need to be ready to take action immediately. Write down your action plan.[7]
    • Post the number for the veterinarian in more than one place. Try posting it in the barn, in your kitchen, and keep it in your cell phone contacts.
    • You should also write down the number to the back-up vet. Keep this number handy in various places, including inside your first aid kit.
    • Have a list of friends and neighbors who can help you in case of an emergency. It can be difficult to care for a scared and wounded horse. Call for help while you wait for the vet.
    • No matter where you are, you should know the way to the nearest equine vet. If you are traveling with your horse, make a list of treatment facilities along the route.
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    Recognize signs of distress. When you contact the vet, it is important that you give a detailed description of what is wrong with your horse. Take note of the symptoms that your horse is exhibiting. It's a good idea to be able to recognize common signs of distress.[8]
    • When your horse has a cut, there are some obvious signs of trouble to look for. Bleeding and swelling are visual cues that something is wrong.
    • If your horse is acting anxious or scared, that is also a sign that he his hurt. Lethargy and going "off-feed" are also indicators that there is a problem.
    • Contact your vet no matter how minor you think the issue might be. Even if you take steps to heal the wound at home, call your vet to confirm that you are doing everything right.
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    Ask questions. It is important to understand how your vet is treating your horse. Whether he visits you in person, or just offers advice over the phone, make sure you are clear on what he is saying. It's a good idea to ask a lot of questions.[9]
    • Be specific. Try saying, "What is the best way to treat this cut? Is there anything I should be doing differently?"
    • Ask for a clear time frame. Say, "How long do you expect the healing process to last? When can my horse resume normal activity?"
    • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Your vet knows you have your horse's best interests at heart.
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    Follow instructions. After all of your questions have been answered, it is time for you to listen carefully to your vet. Remember, he is the medical expert. Take care to follow all of the guidelines he gives you.[10]
    • If your horse requires medication, make sure that you learn how to administer the proper dosage. Ask if there are any potential side effects.
    • If your vet recommends that your horse rest, make sure you listen. Follow his instructions to the letter.

Method 3
Preventing Further Injury

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    Create a safe environment. Horses will cut themselves. That's normal, and you can't prevent every accident. But you can take steps to insure that your horse is as safe as possible.[11]
    • Make his stall is free from potential hazards. Take care to ensure that there are no lose nails or faulty clasps or hinges on the gate or door.
    • If you use a feed bucket, remove the handle. You don't want your horse to catch his foot in it and trip.
    • Keep electric lights well out of your horse's reach. You should also make sure switches are properly covered.
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    Keep your horse healthy. Since horses frequently suffer from cuts, they are very susceptible to tetanus. Make sure to keep your horse vaccinated. He should get shots twice a year.[12]
    • Keep your medical records accurate. It is a good idea to write down when your vet last examined your horse, and what his findings were.
    • Feed your horse properly. Make sure that he has access to fresh food and water.
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    Pay attention to your horse. Accidents do happen. You won't be able to prevent all of them. But take care to carefully monitor your horse's health.[13]
    • Check on your horse at least once a day. Preferably, you will have time to visit him twice each day.
    • When you visit your horse, take a minute to look him offer to make sure he doesn't have any obvious wounds. You should also note any changes in behavior.

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Categories: Horse Health