Horses can get injuries in the strangest places. Often, those places are the hardest to keep clean, like inside their mouths or throats, or in a place where dirt and debris can cause infection.
For anyone who owns a horse, this can be scary because infections can eventually lead to the horse’s death if left untreated for too long.
Identifying an infection is relatively easy. Symptoms will present themselves as most other maladies do. The horse will be sluggish, appear sick, and possibly have intestinal issues.
The thing is, only a veterinarian can properly identify and treat an infection to begin with. Your job as the horse’s owner is to tell if something is wrong with your horse. If there is, you better get them over to the vet.
The veterinarian will most likely wash the horse’s wound first in order to clean it of bacteria. He or she will use a sterile saline solution to eliminate as much infection as possible.
If the infection is too pernicious, the veterinarian will recommend surgery to remove all of the affected tissue. This might include removing a small piece of skin and stitching the wound closed.
He or she might also drain the wound. The horses’ body’s immune system can only do so much, so it’s up to the vet to drain as much of the accumulated bacteria as he or she can.
To recover, the horse might need to rest in his or her stall while the wound is healing, but mild physical activity such as walking around would also help the infection drain itself, granted other bacteria don’t find its way into the wound and cause another infection.
Which can be a problem, because bacteria has a tendency to stick around inside wounds and resist being cleared up by the body or by treatment.
Another thing that might make an infection worse are foreign bodies inside of the horse, like surgical implants built to mend broken legs or other such unnatural supports. A veterinarian will remove foreign bodies causing resistance to infection, but treatment of such an infection requires rigorous cleaning multiple times a day.
The vet will recommend products such as antibiotics, vitamins, and other medications. What products and medications are used depends on what kind of infection the horse has.
The veterinarian will prescribe medication such as gels, peroxides or antibiotics to properly treat the horse.
Compromised Immune System:
One of the main dangers of a chronically infected wound is the horse’s body’s inability to fight of the infection on its own.
More often than not, a horse might have a hard time fighting off a bacterial infection simply because he or she is old. Also, poor nutrition and stress can cause a lowered immune system.
So, part of caring for a chronically infected wound is making sure your horse is healthy so that his or her own immune responses can do part of the work of eventually getting rid of the bacterial infection.
Another thing that can make it hard for the horse to fight off infection is a condition known as poor perfusion. This is where blood does not flow very well to the infected area, so the body’s natural defenses aren’t able to do their job. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as blood clotting, scarring, pressure from bandages, and swelling.
Perfusion can be avoided by keeping the horse hydrated and active, as well as by applying non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
Like I said before, it’s really up to the veterinarian to decide what to do with an infected wound, and he or she will guide you every step of the way. Your job is to identify the infection by paying attention to its warning signs, then getting your horse straight to the vet!