Even small leg wounds re­quire at­ten­tion

EQUUS - - Eq Letters -

I am writ­ing re­gard­ing “First Re­sponse: Large Lac­er­a­tion” (EQUUS 473). When de­scrib­ing the sever­ity of var­i­ous wounds, the ar­ti­cle stated, “Wounds on the lower leg aren’t as likely to be life threat­en­ing.” Un­for­tu­nately, this is a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion that can have dis­as­trous con­se­quences.

The equine lower limb is com­posed of many in­tri­cate and del­i­cate struc­tures that have lit­tle pro­tec­tion (there is no sig­nif­i­cant mus­cle or fat to pro­vide cush­ion­ing to the lower leg). Even a seem­ingly small, in­nocu­ous wound can eas­ily lac­er­ate a ten­don or, worse, en­ter a syn­ovial struc­ture (a ten­don sheath or joint). Open syn­ovial struc­tures can read­ily de­velop in­fec­tions, which can cause se­vere lame­ness and ul­ti­mately the euthana­sia of the an­i­mal due to un­re­lent­ing pain or loss of func­tion.

For any cut or punc­ture in­volv­ing a limb, it’s best to have your vet­eri­nar­ian out to thor­oughly as­sess the wound for po­ten­tial com­pli­ca­tions. I have seen sev­eral horses re­cently who had rel­a­tively small wounds on the lower limb that ul­ti­mately com­mu­ni­cated with syn­ovial struc­tures. Thanks to their own­ers’ quick ac­tions and prompt vet­eri­nary at­ten­tion (de­bride­ment, lavage, and ag­gres­sive an­timi­cro­bial therapy), they have gone on to re­gain sound­ness with ex­cel­lent prog­noses.

Shanna Nel­son, DVM Har­risonville, Mis­souri

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