re­duce SCAR­RING risk

EQUUS - - Hands On -

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.

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