Cleaning up a wound - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Question Cleaning up a wound

My mare had to have stitches on her face after slicing herself open in a trailer. That was last week, and the stitches are supposed to come out today or tomorrow. The vet said that if she'll let me, I can pull the stitches out myself. But they aren't coming out! So the first question is, should I cut them to get them out?

Additionally, her wound has scabbed over and formed a crust-- though I honestly think it's from my lack of doing any actual cleaning and just applying salves over the weekend. I don't have access to a hose or running water, so I have to remember to bring a gallon and a squeeze bottle with me when I go to the pasture. Today I ended up peeling off most of the crust so that the wound could breath and heal properly. I looked gross because it was all wet under neath, but I know that things like that heal better in the air. After squirting on some betadine (vet recommended), I swiped some fly repellant around it and then put on her fly mask before letting her lose. So my second question is is there anything else I could put on the cut to make it heal faster/ better? My mom swears by scarlet oil, and at the tack store they said to use vetericyn (which was more expensive than anything else there). Anyone have any suggestions of what I should-- or shouldn't-- use? And keep in mind that while I'm limited now to what I can purchase in tack stores, I can order anything online just to have in my first aid box.

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post #2 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 04:43 PM
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Have you tried getting them out yet? Are they ready to come out?
The stitches form a circle. Take a tweezers or your fingernail & hold the stitch by the knot. Gently pull away from the horse so you can see both sides of the knot or at least the side to be cut . Take a scissors & cut only one side next to the knot, then simply pull the stitch out. Don't let go of the knot until you have it all the way out. Remember only cut one side of the knot. They make a special scissors for this but you don't really need one, though they are nice.
To soften crusty stuff hold a damp cloth over the area. Warm water works best but cold will do if that's all you have.
You can do this. Good luck.

ETA: If the wound opens up after the first stitch or so is removed don't remove any more, they will need more time.

Last edited by natisha; 09-02-2011 at 04:45 PM.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 05:07 PM
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Toenail clippers work well to cut the stitches with.

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post #4 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 05:28 PM
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LOL, toe nail scissors are even better, the sort with a curved blade, makes it a lot easier not to nick them by accident.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 05:36 PM
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Exactly, you have to cut one side of the stitch and then it should slide out relatively easy. Truthfully, I would leave the crusty stuff on there unless it started showing signs of infection. The crusties are part of what is protecting the wound from outside germs and the more you are able to leave it alone, the less likely it will be to scar big. Think of it like a scrape on your knee or elbow, the more you pick at it and peel the crusties and scab off, the longer it takes to heal and the bigger the scar is.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Is there anything I should put on it besides the betadine?

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post #7 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 05:56 PM
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I would definitely advise against keep taking the scabbing off you will cause it to scar so much worse and risk introducing infection x
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
Exactly, you have to cut one side of the stitch and then it should slide out relatively easy. Truthfully, I would leave the crusty stuff on there unless it started showing signs of infection. The crusties are part of what is protecting the wound from outside germs and the more you are able to leave it alone, the less likely it will be to scar big. Think of it like a scrape on your knee or elbow, the more you pick at it and peel the crusties and scab off, the longer it takes to heal and the bigger the scar is.
Yes...unless you see it becoming infected, resist the urge to clean it up and just leave it alone. Our old farm vet calls this 'benign neglect'.

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post #9 of 10 Old 09-02-2011, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares View Post
Our old farm vet calls this 'benign neglect'.
I haven't heard that in a while, it's a good one
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-03-2011, 07:52 PM
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Horses often heal in spite of what we do rather than because of what we do. If you feel you must put something on it, I would recommend 'pink lady'. It will form an actual barrier between the wound and the flies. It has zinc in it to promote healing. It's what our vet recommends.

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