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AskHQ: Puncture wounds

Q: What is the best way to manage a puncture wound? 

A: If there is one thing you need to know about puncture wounds, it is that every single one requires veterinary attention. There is no exception. These wounds may look tiny and innocuous but they are one of the most dangerous injuries your horse can sustain – particularly if near a joint or in the hoof.

Wounds near joints

Puncture wounds near joints are a true veterinary emergencies and they must be considered to have breached the joint, until it has been proven otherwise. A joint infection in a horse is a serious, often life-threatening, issue as it takes just hours for the joint to become so heavily contaminated with infection that there is no way back.

NOTE: A puncture wound in the hoof or sole of the foot is also an emergency, as the joints in the hoof can become infected just in the same way as any other joint in the body.

Wounds away from joints

Puncture wounds elsewhere on the body are also a concern as the very fact that the wound is caused by a puncture, means that the infection is driven deeper down into the tissues and can struggle to drain. This means that even if the wound is nowhere near a joint, you still need to call your vet as a priority.

IMPORTANT: If the object is still in the wound do not remove it until your vet arrives, as this may give your vet more information and even allow them to perform scans with the object in place to see exactly which structures have been affected.