Dealing with Injuries

Be armed with the knowledge and supplies to properly tend to a laceration.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Depending on severity, a laceration or wound to your horse’s leg can be unsightly or potentially career-ending. Your first step should be to call your veterinarian. However, knowing what to do while you wait can improve recovery time.

Because of a horse’s natural fight-or-flight response, an injured horse’s temperament can be unpredictable which can cause him to suffer additional injury.

You, the horse owner, also face an increased risk for injury. In these situations, DORMOSEDAN GEL® (detomidine hydrochloride) can be used to mildly sedate the horse resulting in increased safety for all concerned. DORMOSEDAN GEL is the only oral sedative approved by the Food and Drug Administration proven safe and effective for horse owners to administer by veterinary prescription.

Learn about common diseases and ailments that might affect your horse with AQHA's Your Horse's Health DVDs.

Be sure to include DORMOSEDAN GEL in your first-aid kit so it is easily accessible during emergency situations. DORMOSEDAN GEL is administered from a single-dose syringe underneath your horse’s tongue, so dosing is easy and there’s no hassle with needles. Prior to administering, put on impermeable gloves. Once the horse has quieted down, you can safely examine the injury.

Cleaning or flushing the wound may be necessary. To clean the wound, gently wipe the injured area in a circular motion using gauze sponges with antiseptic solution diluted in sterile water. Once clean, rinse the wound with sterile water.

When the wound is clean, you will be better able to determine if bandaging is necessary. These key steps to bandage a horse’s leg can protect the injured area and encourage healing:

  1. Start with clean bandages; dry the wound and surrounding area prior to applying the bandage.
  2. Apply a nonstick pad, such as a Telfa® pad, to directly cover the wound.
  3. To hold the Telfa pad in place, wrap gauze in a spiral pattern from top to bottom down the leg (from front to back, outside to inside) using uniform pressure. Check to ensure the bandage is smooth and avoid folds in the bandage material that could lead to pressure sores.
  4. Continue wrapping the gauze in a spiral pattern back up the leg (from front to back, outside to inside), overlapping each layer by 50%. Be sure to recheck that the bandage is smooth and there are no folds in the bandage material that could lead to pressure sores.
  5. Over the top of the gauze, apply a soft, clean padding with thickness of an inch or more, such as a roll of cotton. Keep this bandage layer flat and wrinkle-free.
  6. Apply Vetrap™ in a spiral pattern down the leg being careful not to pull too tightly (from front to back, outside to inside).
  7. Continue using Vetrap in a spiral pattern up the leg using smooth, uniform pressure to avoid lumps or ridges.
  8. Use Elastikon® or white bandage tape to secure and seal the top and bottom of the bandage.

From diseases and disorders to soreness and injuries, AQHA's Your Horse’s Health DVDs will help you keep your equine partners out of trouble.

First-aid Kit
Make sure your first-aid kit includes all of the items needed for bandaging a leg. Be sure the kit is well-stocked and easily accessible. Recommended items for your first-aid kit include:

    • Antiseptic Solution
    • Thermometer
    • Roll of cotton
    • Gauze pads
    • Brown gauze
    • Telfa nonstick pad
    • Stethoscope
    • Cold pack
    • Adhesive wrap
    • Diaper
    • Leg wraps
    • Latex gloves
    • Eye wash
    • White tape
    • Duct tape
    • Scissors
    • Triple antibiotic ointment
    • Small flashlight and spare batteries
    • Hoof pick

In addition to keeping a stocked first aid kit, ensure you are prepared with an emergency plan including phone numbers and addresses of area veterinarians as well as other key contacts such as your farrier or barn manager. It is often crucial to have a complete record of your horse’s medications and vaccinations during an emergency. The EQStable™ app by Zoetis offers a great way to track all of this information on your iPhone®.

Learn more about Zoetis by visiting

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not use DORMOSEDAN GEL in horses with pre-existing atrioventricular (AV) or sinoatrial (SA) block, with severe coronary insufficiency, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory disease, or chronic renal failure. Do not use in anesthetized or sedated horses, or in conditions of shock, severe debilitation or stress due to extreme heat, cold, fatigue or high altitude. Handle gel-dosing syringes with caution to avoid direct exposure to skin, eyes or mouth. See full Prescribing Information.
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