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Leg Injury

Kate, a palomino Quarter Horse mare, was being trailered when she got her hind leg caught up in a panel in the trailer. In the process of trying to free herself, she acquired a degloving injury of her right hind limb.

This type of injury to the dorsal (front) part of the hind limb just below the hock is fairly common in horses. The typical scenario is that they get a leg stuck through a fence when kicking at flies or horses or get hung up in a stall or trailer. The offending obstacle then tears the skin and tissue from the dorsal surface of the leg as they try to get free.

Thankfully, an injury to the dorsal surface is easier to handle than an injury to the back part of the leg where all the important tendons and ligaments are.

The extensor tendons DO run over the dorsal surface of the hind limb but even when damaged or severed a horse can maintain normal function of the leg. The key to good healing of these types of wounds is keeping them clean and well bandaged. This is not a wound that you want to try to manage yourself- Call the vet!

What did we do for Kate?

Initially, a thorough cleaning and debridement (removal) of contaminated tissue. Antiinflammatory and antibiotic therapy was prescribed in the initial stages to minimize swelling, discomfort and prevent infection. The wound was then bandaged to protect the exposed tissue . This bandage was changed on a weekly basis with the wound being cleaned each time and further debrided if necessary.

Over weeks, the wound began to fill in with healthy, pink granulation tissue. We will continue to keep the wound in a clean bandage to protect the area as Kate’s body continues to heal. Kate has not shown any signs of lameness since the injury.

Keys To Wound Healing

1. Call your vet! Even if it looks minor, there is often more damage then is evident on the surface. Have us take a look or at least talk to you about the wound.
2. KEEP IT CLEAN. Thorough cleaning and removal of contaminated tissue.
3. Bandaging if the area is amenable. Covered wounds always heal faster and lead to less scarring. Remember, you can cause problems with improper bandaging, so if you are not experienced, call your vet before trying to bandage a wound.
4. Prevention of proud flesh on lower leg wounds. Pressure bandaging and appropriate application of Panalog ointment help prevent excessive granulation tissue or proud flesh.
5. Time. Wounds take time to heal. That may mean the horse needs to be stalled or confined for several weeks if necessary. Bandages and wounds don’t respond well to galloping in a muddy pasture.