Wounds and injuries can profoundly affect your horse's health and wellbeing. It is therefore important to be vigilant in caring for your horse's wounds and to be aware of the possible side effects of any injury or ailment.
The skin is a vital organ that protects the body from harmful influences and forces. It encases the body and prevents bacteria, viruses and parasites from entering. Healthy skin also regulates a horse's body temperature and acts as an excretory organ, discharging waste products through various glands. Finally, the skin is a vital sensory organ that transmits external stimulations.
How to take care of your horse's skin?
The skin is a crucial barrier between the internal organs and the outside world. However, it is also susceptible to external influences and can be easily damaged. This can lead to skin irritations, superficial wounds, chafing, inflammation, and weeping eczema.
Here are three things you should take care of:
Shield the skin from the sun: Horses love spending time outdoors, but they can get sunburned just like humans. Grey horses, lighter coloured horses and horses with white markings are especially susceptible. Make sure there is plenty of shade in the turnout area for your horse to enjoy. You can also apply sunblock to sensitive areas, and fly masks can help protect against harmful UV rays.
Protect the horse against flies: There are a number of things that can annoy a horse, and insect bites are definitely one of them. Not only are they itchy and uncomfortable, but they can also trigger physical reactions in the horse. Using fly spray and/or fly sheets can help keep these problems at bay.
Limit the sharing of tack or grooming equipment: To avoid spreading skin diseases, it is important to regularly disinfect your grooming tools and only use them on horses with healthy skin. Shared brushes or tack between sick and healthy horses can contribute to the spread of skin diseases.
How can you keep the skin of your horse healthy?
Horses' skin is very sensitive and can easily become irritated. Some common causes of skin problems in horses are frequent washing with shampoo, metabolic disorders, internal diseases, and nutritional deficiencies. Signs of horse skin problems include dry, bald spots, inflamed areas, and infections. Horse skin irritations are often accompanied by severe itching, which can lead to further problems like rubbing against objects (which creates wounds) and entry points for germs and pathogens.
How to treat a wound?
If you follow a few simple guidelines, you can treat superficial wounds yourself:
Different horse caretakers have different opinions on what the most important aspect of wound care is, but most agree that cleanliness is key. Whether you wear disposable gloves or simply wash your hands thoroughly, you'll want to make sure any surface coming into contact with the wound is clean. Iodine solutions and compresses can be used to swab wounds carefully, and it's generally recommended that the hair around the wound be clipped or shaved to prevent it from sticking.
After you have disinfected the wound, dry it with a clean towel and apply a barrier cream to keep the wound hydrated and protected from germs and bacteria.
If you are unsure of how to apply a bandage, it is best to consult your veterinarian. In some cases, using a bandage can help to keep the wound clean and free from infection.
How to disinfect a wound properly?
An antiseptic salve can help keep the wound clean and promote healing. This type of salve usually contains iodine or other antiseptic ingredients that can help to prevent infection. Infections can happen anywhere at any time. If it's an open wound, it's important to be extra careful in order to avoid infection. Once infected, the healing process becomes much more complicated.
Microsilver has been gaining popularity as a natural remedy due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. More and more horse wound care preparations are now being made with microsilver or colloidal silver, as silver is known to kill bacteria. This makes it an ideal choice for those looking for a natural and effective way to care for their horse's skin.
What do you need to have in your first aid kit?
First aid is an important part of horse care, and a well-stocked first aid kit is a must. Providing effective first aid to an injured or wounded horse can make a great difference in its recovery.
Here is what you should have:
Roll of duct tape
Hemostat and/or tweezer
Antiseptic scrub and wound cream
Roll of elastikon
Gauze roll for padding
It's important to keep everything organised and in clean containers with secure lids. Make sure to check the expiration date on perishable items often.