UGA HOS: Wounds

Wounds: What You See is Not Necessarily What You Get
by Dr. Jared Williams

Size doesn't matter.
  • Size doesn't matter as much as:
    • Location
    • Blood supply
    • Synovial structure involvement
  • Temperature
    • Is there still a blood supply around and below the wound?
    • Is the distal limb ice cold?  Very concerning.
  • Is there deeper damage?
  • Location
    • Is it over a ligament or a tendon?
    • Is is over a synovial capsule?
Then the vet gave a "case study", asking which of the two photos would be more concerning:
(exact photo he used)


(comparable to the second injury he showed)
And, surprise, surprise, he said he'd take the gaping face wound over the puncture-near-a-joint.
He confirmed that our inclination with a relatively small injury is to just treat it ourselves, but if it's over a joint, like the barbwire, there could be a puncture to the synovial capsule.  Most owners aren't going to call about a small wound like that, so instead of getting the immediate lavage and antibiotics that it warrants, we ignore it until the horse is lame.  By the time the horse is lame, the joint is septic and a four week recovery becomes months and months.

(actual slide)
  • Assess Size - Temperature - Depth - Location.  If it's anything other than size, call the vet.
  • If you can't reach your vet, do you have a back up?  UGA ER: 706-292-0379
Recommended Supplies:
Don't put topical treatment on before vet assesses wound
Tetanus is the next important consideration

You Might Also Like


  1. I just had the vet out yesterday. Small scrape on front leg, below knee, depth minimal (i don't think it bled) but her leg was swollen and she could barely walk. Waiting for the vet was horrible, but thankfully her tendon is fine. She's just a delicate flower who hit herself overreaching, maybe while standing up since she doesn't typically overreach.

    Great info, I think sometimes its also good to know your horse.

  2. thanks for posting this - i kinda actually want to print out the slide deck and laminate them to hang around the barn lol. seems like a fantastic lecture all in all!

    1. I'm hoping to get the slides from some of the other presenters. His was just sorta goofy. The colic one and the tendon/ligament injury were really well-made. And resp dz had some audio that would be worth sharing.

  3. Hurt pain is experienced by every one. wound big or small is always painful. A blog related to this wound big or small is very insteresting. You stay glued to the page. Good work . Keep it up.