MeliHeal All-Natural Honey-Based Horse Healing Salve
Doctor's Corner: Wound Care

How do I know if I need to call the vet?

A veterinarian should always examine the following types of wounds:

  • Gaping wounds or areas where patches of skin are peeled away
    or missing. Even if you suspect that it cannot be sutured, a vet
    can assess any damage and make treatment recommendations.
  • Older wounds with devitalized tissue. Dead tissue may need to
    be removed to facilitate healing. A professional should always
    perform this initially, but further debridement can be performed at
    home as directed.
  • Lacerations to the face, which should always be sutured to
    prevent infection and to promote a more esthetic appearance.

Are puncture wounds a big deal?

They often look innocent enough but can result in a serious infection.
That’s because bacteria is deposited into underlying tissues. These
organisms are trapped as the skin heals.

Because certain bacteria, such as the causative agent of Tetanus, thrive
in this kind of oxygen-deprived environment, it is imperative that the
injured horse receive a Tetanus toxoid booster if more than three
months have lapsed since its last immunization. If it wasn’t previously
vaccinated for the disease, or the status is unknown, both toxoid and
antitoxin (the antitoxin will offer temporary protection until the toxoid takes
full effect) should be administered, along with a toxoid booster in two
weeks. Early signs of Tetanus include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Prolapse of the third eyelid and generalized stiffness.
  • Additionally, those affected are often sensitive to light and sound,
    and adopt the “sawhorse” stance.

Because the incubation period for the disease varies, it can take days to
weeks to develop. Contact you veterinarian immediately if you have

What can I do while waiting for the vet?

Control the bleeding:

  • Apply pressure to bleeding areas immediately. If you suspect a
    major vessel has been damaged, call your veterinarian while you
    apply compression. When applying pressure, do not assess your
    progress before 20 minutes of compression. Doing so will
    disrupt the clotting cascade and may necessitate starting over.
  • If the material you placed over the bleeding is saturated, quickly
    add more. It is OK to add layers as long as the bulk doesn’t make
    it more difficult to apply direct pressure.
  • Compression is held in place by hand on areas of the body, but
    you can apply pressure dressings relatively easily to the legs.
    Wrap them snugly, but not too tight. If swelling occurs below the
    bandage, loosen immediately.
  • Severed blood vessels on the feet and lower extremities often
    bleed profusely, especially if the horse is moving around. Keep
    the horse as still as possible. Apply a pressure bandage over the
    wound. If you are unable to keep your horse from moving about or
    apply a dressing, a slow stream of cold water from a hose
    directed at the wound can assist in clotting.
  • If gauze or other material is stuck to the surface of the wound,
    bleeding may resume if it is removed. Saturating the material
    with water will facilitate removal.

What should I do if I think I'm capable of caring for the wound?

  • Clip the hair away from the margins of the wound, taking care to
    protect the wound and sweep loose hair away; clipped hair sticks
    to exposed tissue and is difficult to remove later.
  • Clean the area. The wound is already contaminated, so tap water
    is acceptable. Resist the urge to scrub. Abrasive treatment may
    disrupt clots and inflict more trauma. Lavage with pressure is
    most beneficial. A water hose with an adjustable spray nozzle
    works well, using moderate pressure.  
  • Once visible contamination and debris have been lavaged away,
    gently clean the wound with an antimicrobial solution. Do not use
    peroxide, as it can exacerbate bleeding and damage delicate
    tissues. Povidone Iodine or chlorhexidine are the most
    commonly used antimicrobial solutions. Although it is fine to use
    either solution full strength on intact skin, dilute them with water
    when cleansing delicate or exposed tissues.
  • Don’t forget the tetanus immunization.

When is a bandage necessary?

Bandaging is usually not necessary, as long as the wound is kept clean.
Application of  MeliHeal twice daily for several days should suffice.
However, when bandaging a leg is necessary, it is vital to follow
appropriate wrapping protocol:

  • Apply a nonstick pad to the area and secure with gauze.
  • Pad the leg with cotton and wrap with cohesive bandage. Always
    wrap front to back and inside to out, overlapping the material
    evenly. Elastic wraps have a cumulative effect when layered, so
    avoid stretching the material as you go. Improperly wrapping a
    leg can result in damage to tendons and other soft tissues.
  • Unless otherwise instructed by your vet, assess the wound and
    apply fresh dressing daily. Any bandage or wrap that appears
    overly tight or sagging should be removed immediately.

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