Nasty cut, not sure about vet's advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Nasty cut, not sure about vet's advice

Oz got a nasty looking cut on/under the hock joint on Friday. My BO and I cleaned it, put antibiotic ointment on, and wrapped it. There was a large flap of flesh/skin hanging down, but due to the location we did not think it could be stitched. We left it hanging down to avoid contaminating the wound.

The vet came today to check for infection. She said we either needed to wrap the skin flap up to attempt to get it to heal back on or sedate him and cut it off. She felt the healing time would be lessened if we attempted to get it to reattach. She felt that was the best option so that's what I decided on, though it makes me a bit nervous due to infection concerns and scarring (not for cosmetic concerns but for future range of motion). The vet did say she did not think it could've been stitched.

The injury happened right before my BO went on vacation (out of the country). She recommended keeping him stalled (since the leg was wrapped) and walking him 2x per day since he'd be stalled 24/7. She also recommended the vet visit to check for infection. The vet told us he didn't need to be walked, but that's another thing I disagree on. I feel like he could get stiff and go a little stir crazy if never allowed out to exercise. She said it will need to be wrapped (wrap changed every day or every other day) at least 2 weeks, and that seems a long time for a horse to be in a stall without being exercised.

There is no swelling in the wound and it looks very clean (though the flap looked pretty nasty). He is not limping, but the bandage makes him a bit hesitant about walking. The vet gave him a tetanus shot and put him on Uniprim (preventatively, since I don't think there were any signs of infection).

Any advice would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 09:08 PM
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So why do you not agree with your vet's advice? They did go through school and all...

With that being said, not all vets are created equal, so if you dont trust the one you have, call one out for a second opinion.

I dont see the logic in trusting what your BO says over the vet. Unless of course your BO also happens to be a veterinarian.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately I do not have a lot of options when it comes to vets (why is it that everyone seems to live in areas with tons of options for vets?).

I have two options for veterinarians. One I feel is actually a better vet but is horribly unreliable. You simply cannot get her to come out unless it suits her to do so. The other one is reliable but I'm just not as comfortable with her advice.

I guess I was looking for others experiences/opinions with the lack of options for a 2nd veterinary opinion (and the inability to contact my BO with the vet's visit. I actually COULD contact her but she has limited phone use while out of the country and I don't necessarily feel it's an emergency), particularly regarding the lack of exercise/walking while stalled for two weeks.
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 09:53 PM
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Sounds like good veterinary advice to me. You'd be amazed at some of the tissue that can reattach without unnecessary interference. With correct care taking, should heal fine.
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 6W Ranch View Post
Sounds like good veterinary advice to me. You'd be amazed at some of the tissue that can reattach without unnecessary interference. With correct care taking, should heal fine.
I agree, I think that advice from your vet was right. Did she think there was enough blood flow in the flap of skin that it should take. I don't understand what were you going to do with the flap of skin, you either need to get it to attach or cut it off.
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 10:55 PM
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I agree, the movement of the leg may continue to pull the loose skin causing it to not heal. Maybe the vet was just thinking something along that line. I know there's movement in the stall but, you never know what could happen during a walk even when being led that may cause more damage than good.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 11:08 PM
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I agree to just leave the horse on stall rest. Walking him can disrupt the healing, and especially if he is feeling good on walks and kicks up his heels you can end up at square one rather quickly.
Horses all over the world spend months on stall rest for medical issues. Two weeks will be fine. If he likes playing, get him a ball. There is hanging Himilayan rock salt that a lot of horses like as well. Two weeks will go by before you know it!

Good luck!
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 11:10 PM
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While I do agree it is a long time to be stalled, I don't think you realize how much faster it will heal without being walked.
Did they recommend hosing? Might be a good idea to keep swelling down. And help keep serum burn to a minimum. If you feel you need to walk him, or if he starts stocking up very short walks...

If I had a stall to keep my bf's main horse in I would. He sliced his sat night crawling out of the corral. Treated him as much as I could this am, wound didnt look bad yesterday in the snow storm! (though the snow probably helped keep swelling and bleeding down) now he will be out for a good two months. Cause I cannot keep him in the corral and I have nowhere to stall him as we are in the middle of calving.

Keeping the wound wrapped well is gonna be key to that flap reattaching. If the flap starts to get dry or curl or look dead, cut it off. It will just cause problems if it dies on you. Did she give you anything to wrap the wound with? Like antiseptic or cream? If not get some honey. Great stuff and will help keep that flap from drying out.
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-19-2013, 01:28 AM
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It could be the Bo recommended walking knowing your horse.

When Ella did her legs the vet ordered stall rest. My BO and I knew she'd just do laps of the stall so yarded her outside in a yard probably 3x the stall size. She moved very little there.

He will survive stalled for a couple of weeks but as has been said if he's struggling/ stocking up short walks.
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-19-2013, 08:36 AM
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Is the flap attached at the top and hanging down or is it attached from the bottom and sticking up?

Those attached from the bottom may have a poor blood supply and if so, will eventually have to be trimmed back to live skin. Leaving dead skin there will just slow healing and make a thicker scar.

They never stay stitched and trying to suture one just leaves a bigger scar. I always keep one wrapped and do not change it very often unless the horse develops an infection (which I have seldom had a problem with). I never wash a wound that I want to 'stick' together once it has been cleaned and leave it alone as much as possible. And yes, the less exercise the better if you want it to stick together. Just cut his feed to hay only and he should be OK.

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