EQUUS - - First Response -

Ex­pe­ri­enced horse own­ers can care for many mi­nor scrapes and cuts on their own. But wounds that are more com­pli­cated or se­vere will heal more ef­fi­ciently if a ve­teri­nar­ian is called in sooner rather than later. If in doubt about the se­ri­ous­ness of a wound, do not hes­i­tate to call for help. Here are some of the fac­tors that can com­pli­cate a wound: Size. The length and width of a wound can af­fect how well it will heal, but depth is a par­tic­u­lar con­cern. Se­ri­ous in­fec­tions may de­velop if the sur­face of a deep wound heals over, trap­ping pock­ets of bac­te­ria un­der the skin. Un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the depth of a wound is a com­mon mis­take. Call your ve­teri­nar­ian if you aren’t sure how deep a wound is. Age. Even a small wound that goes undis­cov­ered or un­treated for more than eight hours can har­bor sig­nif­i­cant bac­te­rial growth that in­creases the risk of in­fec­tion and other com­pli­ca­tions. Bruis­ing. Trau­mas such as kicks or col­li­sions are likely to cause sig­nif­i­cant bruis­ing in the tis­sues sur­round­ing the wound it­self. Ex­ten­sive bruis­ing can com­pli­cate heal­ing. Com­plex­ity. A straight cut from a sharp ob­ject will heal more read­ily than torn flesh with ragged edges. Lo­ca­tion. Wounds on the lower leg aren’t as likely to be life threat­en­ing, but their prox­im­ity to muck and dirty bed­ding in­creases the risk of con­tam­i­na­tion and in­fec­tion. Wounds to the ab­domen and neck may be more se­ri­ous if bleed­ing can­not be con­trolled or an ab­dom­i­nal wound is deep enough to in­tro­duce in­fec­tion to ma­jor or­gans. Any head wound that is more than skin-deep is se­ri­ous. Con­tam­i­na­tion. For­eign ma­te­rial em­bed­ded in a wound—such as gravel, splin­ters, dirt or hair—can in­tro­duce in­fec­tion and slow heal­ing. Some­times, the de­bris may not be vis­i­ble at the sur­face of the wound. Ask your ve­teri­nar­ian to ex­am­ine any wound that does not heal as ex­pected.

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