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I like your web site it is interesting, but could you give me some good advice as to what to do for my horse? He has a cut on his face and I don't know if he needs stitches or not -- I'm not sure. It is about 3-4 inches long; it's on his jaw. It's not that deep, just like peeled skin back pretty good. It is about as long as a pencil. I think he may have cut it on barbwire, but not sure. I put antibiotic ointment on it and bandaged it, which I'm not sure if I should have done -- covered it up. Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated....

B. H.


To echo the words of a vet at an equine first aide workshop a few years ago, "very few injuries are life-threatening to a horse." The main consideration for you at this point is "How well will the injury heal -- will it leave a scar?"

It sounds like you did a fairly good job of administering first aid in this case. In addition to what you've said you've done, I would have suggested that you make sure the wound was good and clean before putting the antibotic ointment on it. That vet at the workshop suggested keeping some Betadine Surgical Scrub on hand in your barn's first aid kit for cleaning a wound prior to putting on any salve. If your bandage held well enough to keep the loose skin in place, stitches shouldn't be necessary. There's a type of bandage called a "butterfly" that's sometimes helpful in pulling the edges of a cut back together. Don't worry about covering the cut up -- the bandage will help keep the ointment in place and protect the wound from dirt. There may be a scar once it heals, but probably not too noticable once the hair grows back over it.

I think you've discovered why I don't like to see horses in fields with barbed wire fencing. Actually, you've been fortunate so far. I've known folks whose horses got so badly cut up by barbed wire that the poor animal had to be put down. If there's any way to get rid of the barbed wire, please do so. If not, put up a wood or electric fence between your horse and the barbed wire.

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