Today my horse got a wound on his back leg just below the hock. It was just gushing blood. I mean everywhere. We bandaged it up real tight to stop the bleeding, then called the vet. He told us to leave the bandage on for an hour then bandage it again, less tightly with more padding. We did all that. Tomorrow I am going to call him again and ask if Hershey will need a tetanus shot.
Anyway, I am extremely worried about the recovery process. You see my horse is usually in the pasture 24/7. Because of this he gets very antsy when left in the stall. He will walk in circles all day long. He also tends to colic when he is in his stall. Years ago when he was kept in the stall more often he would colic three or four times a year. Also, I have never had to treat such an injury before. I plan on changing the bandages daily and cleaning it out with Fura Zone. And also I will keep him inside. What else can I do to prevent infection?
One last thing. Because he is usually outside with a round bale or just the grass depending on the season, I do not keep square bales of hay. On the occasions when he needs to be inside I usually just feed him alfalfa cubes. Will the alfalfa cubes be sufficient forage for him or will I need to purchase hay?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Since you are keeping the leg bandaged, I would go ahead and turn him out in the paddock. Is this more of a superficial wound that bled a lot or did it possibly do a lot of damage? Since he has such issues with being stalled, I wouldn't risk a potentially fatal bout of colic if he can be left outside. I would go ahead and get him a tetanus shot and just keep an eye on it. At the first sign of infection, if any appears, call your vet. I don't know what Fura Zone is but if it is an antibacterial medicine then that should work. Iodine is good too. If you are set on keeping him inside though, the alfalfa cubes should be sufficient. How close is the round bale he eats off of to the stall where you would keep him? Is it close enough that you could carry some to him every day? I only ask because the alfalfa could make him a bit more hyper and harder on him to keep him stalled.
We don't really have a paddock at our barn. It's pretty much full pasture or stall. I could turn him out periodically in the indoor arena but thats pretty much my only option.
A wound that is near a joint should always be examined by a vet. It is too easy for what appears to be a minor wound to actually involve the joint.
For recovery, it's going to be important to keep your horse as still as possible because the wound is in a high-motion area which can lead to proud flesh formation and slow healing. Since he doesn't like being stalled, consider putting him in a small pen with a calm buddy. Usually the stall-pacing is from being alone--herd animals stress when they are alone. So if you can give him a buddy to stay with him it will likely help him to remain happier.
Keeping the wound clean and bandaged is going to be important. Don't use products like Furazone or any "proud flesh" treatments. These will slow healing. The proud flesh products may be useful if you have proud flesh form, but they shouldnt' be used on a wound that doesn't have proud flesh because they are caustic and non-selective. They will destroy healthy normal tissue as well as exuberant granulation tissue (proud flesh). For most wounds, stick with a plain triple antibiotic ointment as this will help prevent infection and also provides a good environment for healing. If you see proud flesh forming, tell your vet immediately and he will most likely prescribe a combination of antibiotic/steroids in an ointment to stop the proud flesh from forming in the first place without slowing healing.
If he has to be in, you can take a pitch fork and flake off some of the round bale.
There are a lot of people out there who baby their horses when they get hurt, not that I'm saying anyone on here does it. =] I use a betadine surgical scrub to clean wounds, and I would never use straight iodine because it burns like hell. You can get controlled iodine though, that's watered down so it doesn't hurt so much. It may work just as fine straight, but it's going to be much harder to tend to your horse. When my horse hurts herself [which is often] she stays in the first day so I can check for any swelling, infection, etc. After that, she goes out, and I clean and re-dress is every morning and every night. You can cold-hose the wound too, even if it isn't warm to the touch or swelling. Sometimes cold water on a boo-boo just feels good. =] I don't think there's any reason to keep him inside if it stresses him out so much, you want him to be calm. Just keep it clean, and if you think it's getting worse at any point, call the vet right away. Other than that, most horses are pretty tough, and they can take care of themselves. They don't typically gallop around on bum legs. =]
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