Horse Health


Laceration to carpus

Laceration to carpus.

Wounds are unfortunately very common in horses. They can take many forms:

  • Open (skin is perforated through its full thickness)
  • Closed (skin is not perforated)
  • Laceration (skin is cut)
  • Puncture (focal penetration)
  • Degloving (skin is pulled off)

Towards the hoof, many of the joints and other synovial structures (joints, bursa and tendons) lie near the surface. They are supported by a synovial membrane and fluid, which will cushion and lubricate these structures during movement.

Any wound that penetrates the skin in this region may well cause sepsis of that synovial cavity (joint). Such an injury will require prompt and aggressive therapy – usually with a lavage. This will be performed under general anaesthetic and supported with a course of suitable antibiotics.

If surgery is not performed swiftly, then the horse will experience significant lameness and may quickly find that it is unable to put any of its weight on that limb. In these cases, it will also be important to manage the associated pain. This would usually be done with support bandaging and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).