Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winter wound care sucks

**warning some may consider the pictures below to be of a graphic nature**
edit to add - sorry for the poor quality of the pics, they were taken with my cell phone

In an ideal world our precious equine friends would never have bumps, scrapes or boo-boos. And wound care any time of year sucks... each season has certain advantages or drawbacks. But up here in the frozen north, dealing with wounds that need water in the winter is a big minus.

Last winter Kimfer and I were both at the barn and when I brought Cessa in we were greeted with a massively bloody leg.

The thing is, how much was frozen blood and how much was actual injury??

She was walking sound, but there was soooo much blood. Only one way to know, clean it up.

But how do you do that in below freezing temps? Get some warm clean water, rubber gloves, towels, a pan and the blow dryer:

Thank goodness Cessa has had plenty of time with the blow dryer (winter tail washing) and doesn't give a darn about it.

Slowly the frozen blood warms up enough to peel off.

Frozen blood makes it look so much worse than it was.

Trusty pump sprayer... no hoses could be used due to the cold. Fill the bottle with warm water and spray away. Actually has decent pressure for cleaning wounds.
Hard to see in this pic but we placed Cessa's hoof in a rubber feed pan so the barn floor wouldn't get water on it and turn into a big icy mess.

This cut, while not so nice, is the cause of that huge bloody mess.

No idea what she cut herself on. I looked all over the feed pens and winter turnout and couldn't find a thing, not even a blood trail.
It obviously bled pretty good, but it was so cold out the blood was freezing as it came out. That's why it was so bloody and gory looking.
We cleaned it up as best we could and put some wound cream on it and bandaged it.
I talked to my vet and she said we could leave the bandage on for a few days at a time.
After awhile the healing seemed to stall so Dr.P came out and cut off that flap. She said leaving the flap on and pushing it down with the bandage was the right thing to do, it kinda acted as a natural bandage.
The tissue from the flap had died though and needed to be cut off.

It healed very nicely... hair is still as black as the rest of her leg and there is just a tiny bit of thickening from scar tissue.
It would have been MUCH easier to take care of in the spring or summer though!
(but then you have to deal with flies...)


  1. wow - I have never seen a wound with frozen blood before. I'm glad she is ok in the end - but wow. Good for you for treating it so well in the cold.

    I would be interested to know how many horses can tolerate having a hair dryer around? Good that your horses are used to it.

  2. Sheesh! Silly horses getting hurt. :P
    Looks like the blood just dripped from that flap wound and froze as it dripped. Yikes!
    Good for you in being fearless and treating her the way that you did.
    And even better that you've desenitized her to the blowdryer.
    I'm going to take this as a sign and see how my mare reacts the blowdryer, too.
    And if she needs some desensitizing then we can work on that before we actually might need it in an emergency. gah!

    Amazing photos, by the way. Thanks for sharing them :)

    New Mexico

  3. Icky! Those first few pics were really bad - was relived to see just the one flap. Maybe the cold was a blessing - could have bled more had is not frozen so quickly...

  4. I second Stephanie's thoughts about that wound!

    When I first saw the photos, I thought that they were pictures of proud flesh...can't believe it was just snow and ice...lol!!!

  5. Thank goodness it wasn't as bad as those first couple shots made it look! YUK!

  6. That is crazy! I never would have even though blood would do that!
    This was last year though? Did I read that right.

    I think Less would tolerate a hair dryer if it came with a carrot:-)

  7. Holy yikes! I'd a freaked if I had seen that! Glad it wasn't as bad as it looked at first ! Holy moly! I've tagged you for a meme!

  8. Fascinating! It did look like the entire leg was torn open at first. I'm glad it healed well. Here's to a woundless winter this year.

  9. Oh ouch! just looking at those pics makes me wince.

  10. Yikes! Those first pictures were really bad, I thought the injury was going to be a lot worse then it was. If there is a way for horses to get into a mess they will find it, right?
    We have to use the old hairdryer trick here in Maine in the winter and the guys don't mind it.

  11. what a mess! glad it wasn't anything major. we too have had to deal with our share of winter injuries, so i sympathize. but the sprayer was a good idea - all i could think to do was stick a heater in a bucket of water and sponge with gauze. never tried a hairdryer either...


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