There are most likely hundreds of different ailments that affect horses, ranging from minor to severe. Many people are unaware of the fact that these gentle giants are particularly susceptible to a number of joint, ligament, and muscle injuries as well as the run of the mill cut or scrape every now and then.
In this article we’re going to discuss:
Being outdoor animals, horses are much more likely to run into scratches and cuts throughout their day-to-day. With harsh elements, fences, trees, and brush all around them, horses encounter cuts and abrasions frequently enough for the injury to be considered pretty common. Luckily, these injuries are among the easier ones to treat and can be taken care of without a trip to the vet (in most cases). If your horse has cuts or abrasions, the first thing you should focus on is cleaning the wound.
For this you should mix some baby soap in with a bucket of water and use a rag to clean the area. Using normal soap could potentially irritate the cut and make your horse feel uncomfortable so it’s best to pick up baby soap because it’s more gentle. Make sure to clear out any dirt in the wound, and then apply an antiseptic such as Fauna Care Silver Spray to the wound to prevent infection. After this, you can apply some fly repellent around the wound to keep bugs away and avoid further irritation.
The suspensory ligament is imperative to your horse having proper weight distribution as they move. Injuries in this ligament may occur when your horse puts too much of their weight onto one leg. One of the most important pieces of the healing process for suspensory ligament injuries is rest. If your horse continues to move around normally it will stress the injury more and may cause the condition to get worse. Suspensory ligament injuries are often a bit difficult to detect, but if it’s a bit more severe you might be able to see some swelling. It’s best that you consult a veterinarian if you suspect that your horse has hurt their suspensory ligament.
As far as treatment for this goes, you may need to apply standing horse wraps that attach to the injured leg and the one opposite. This will add resistance and keep them from hurting themselves further. It would also be a good idea to take your horse on hand-walks for about 10 minutes a day to help the healing process along. Adding time to these walks over the months it takes for your horse to heal will strengthen them and give them a gradual opportunity to return to 100%.
Cervical stiffness is a result of trauma in the spine that is more common specifically in performance horses. If your horse has fallen or knocked into something, it’s possible for that impact to cause a spasm in their neck resulting in cervical stiffness. The spasm is caused by muscles deep in your horse’s cervical vertebrae that contract in a protective manner as a result of the trauma. If you notice that your horse is in pain, or that their neck’s range of motion has tightened up, it’s a good idea to take it in to see the vet. This problem is one that you should act quickly to solve, because letting it continue without treatment could become a greater detriment to your horse's health.
A corneal ulcer develops when something has gotten into your horse’s eye and scratched their cornea. This can be caused by debris or bits of hay that is in close proximity to your horse’s eye or change in weather such as higher wind speeds. If your horse’s cornea has been scratched it will be fairly easy to tell seeing as though they won’t be able to open their affected eye. In order to make sure that your horse is suffering from a scratched cornea, you can open their affected eye up and take a look. If there’s a white dot in their cornea that’s a good indication that their cornea has been scratched, there may also be some swelling or drainage around the eye that’s also a sign of corneal ulcers. Because eyes are particularly sensitive, you should contact a veterinary professional as soon as possible to have them treat your horse. As far as at home treatment following this appointment, you should invest in a fly mask for your horse that is UV-protected to protect their eye as it heals. Applying cold compresses around the area also may help your horse feel more comfortable by alleviating some of the pain.
Sometimes looking after a horse can feel daunting. Especially if that horse is dealing with various injuries. But one thing that we’ve learned over time is that if you prepare yourself with the tools and knowledge to keep your horse safe, it may lighten the load of worry that was resting on your shoulders. In the end, it’s about taking care of your animal, and who better to do that than you (with the help of a veterinary doctor of course) Just stay vigilant!
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