Wounds / First Aid

If you find your horse or pony has a wound it is important NOT TO PANIC! Firstly, prevent any further injuries by catching the horse and moving it to a stable or other safe place (unless it is very lame).  Remember that injured horses can be very unpredictable, so get an assistant to hold the horse whilst you examine it.

The following injuries should be seen by a vet as soon as possible:

  • Wounds more than skin deep or a few centimetres long
  • Lameness of the injured leg
  • Wounds with excessive bleeding or swelling
  • Wounds over joints, tendon sheaths and tendons
  • Wounds to the eye or surrounding area
  • Dirty, contaminated wounds
  • Wounds in areas difficult to access and assess
  • Puncture wounds

If the horse is not vaccinated against tetanus, or if the vaccine status is not known, then a visit is vital as soon as possible to ensure the necessary tetanus protection is given. Tetanus is easily preventable, but the disease is very expensive to treat and is often fatal.

Whilst waiting for us to attend, apply direct pressure to severely bleeding wounds with clean, non-stick pads/bandages/towels.  If possible, bandage them onto the limb and keep them in place until we arrive.

Other wounds should be hosed to help clean the wound and remove any existing contamination and debris from the area.  Hosing also helps to stem any bleeding, and reduces swelling.

Do not apply wound powder/ointments – these may prevent accurate assessment of the wound and prevent further treatment such as stitching.  However, wound hydrogels, such as vetalintex or intrasite gel, can be used to prevent the wound from drying out as they are easily washed off.  Bandage the wound if possible to keep it clean and prevent further contamination whilst waiting for the vet to attend.

Minor wounds should be cleaned, and then kept clean and protected from flies.  Wound hydrogels can be used to keep them moist and promote healing.  Any swelling or heat around the wound may indicate infection, and it may be necessary to arrange a visit for appropriate antibiotic treatment.


Download our information sheets on:

First Aid for Wounds

Equine Basic First Aid Kit