reduce SCARRING risk
Most of your horse’s wounds will heal with minimal, if any, visible scarring. Larger or deeper wounds, however, can leave obvious and permanent marks in his skin. Your
horse doesn’t care about cosmetic flaws, of course, but you might. Here’s how you can minimize the risk of scarring as you tend to your horse’s wounds: When in doubt about a wound
If you aren’t sure whether stitches are needed for proper healing, snap a photo and send it to your veterinarian. And do it sooner rather than later---the idea that there’s a limited window in which to suture wounds for optimal results hasn’t been supported with scientific studies, but a delay will still complicate any eventual treatment needed.
KEEP OPEN WOUNDS CLEAN AND MOIST.
Gently flushing wounds with copious amounts of plain water or saline is a safe way to keep them clean. Avoid vigorous spraying with a hose, though, which may just drive dirt deeper into the wound and damage fragile new tissues. A water-based wound ointment can help retain moisture between
cleanings without inhibiting healing. (Sutured wounds are typically kept dry, but your veterinarian will provide specific care instructions for you to follow.)
This is particularly applicable when dealing with lower-leg wounds, where each step can
pull the edges of a healing wound apart. Wounds elsewhere on the body may need protection from rubbing, licking or other irritations.
When possible, keep the wound covered, particularly in the earliest stages of healing. Bandages will keep the wound clean, stable and moist. Some studies have suggested a link between prolonged wrapping and the development of proud flesh, so consult with your veterinarian about timing. You’ll also want to make sure your wrapping technique is good and you’ve used the proper materials. Using a nonstick pad between the wound and the bandage is important to prevent fibers from becoming embedded in tissues.
Be smart about topical treatments.
Stick with commercial, veterinarian-approved formulation s specifically designed for equine wounds. Homemade preparations can damage tissues, leading to more extensive scarring than if nothing had been used.
PROTECTION: A water-based ointment can help keep a horse’s wound moist between cleanings without inhibiting healing.