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At what point do they need stitches?

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  • At what point do they need stitches?

    My boy was super brilliant today. He decided to cut a hole in the inside of his hind right, about 6 or 8 inches above the hock, but in the center of the leg. It had been bleeding, but it wasn't when I discovered it.

    I'm not sure if I should ride him or not, although he still trotted sound. But my real question would be at what point would a horse need stitches on a wound? As in how deep or wide across?

    I'd just like to get some opinions! Pics avaliable if needed.

    Thanks so much!
    Emily and Koda
    Please visit the Donate page!


  • #2
    Call your vet.
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
      Call your vet.
      Yea, I figured...but it's 8:30pm on Sunday and I can't really get a hold of him right now...
      Please visit the Donate page!



      • #4
        Not sure when he did it, but you can't wait too long for stitches (maybe 24 hrs?), so if you think it is stitch-worthy you should probably at least call to set something up for first thing in the morning.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Beam Me Up View Post
          Not sure when he did it, but you can't wait too long for stitches (maybe 24 hrs?), so if you think it is stitch-worthy you should probably at least call to set something up for first thing in the morning.
          It was probably around 6pm. Thanks a bunch, I will call first thing!
          Here is is, btw. Sorry if you are squeamish (skweemish...squeemish..??)

          Please visit the Donate page!



          • #6
            I thought you couldn't stitch after about 8 or 12 hours or something like that. The edges begin to heal and then they won't bond to each other if stitched.

            Have you cold hosed it to clean it? That's what I'd do. And then I'd stick Neosporin on it. And then I'd keep riding him. But, I have been called the wicked witch before .

            I can;t really tell how big it is fron the pics, but it isn't really bleeding much and the edges are rather raggedy (doesn't stitch as well as if a clean cut).


            • #7
              Totally not a vet, but have a horse who poked a hole in his knee, and another one who is currently bandaged from stifle to hoof for lacerating his leg on high tensile wire.

              No idea if that needs stitches, but I would feel better having the vet out to properly flush it, prescibe antibiotics, etc.

              With my horse with the hole in his knee, we needed to do both of those things, but stitches were out of the question because it was right on his knee, so too high motion/high tension. He healed without a trace.

              for the hock laceration I've got now, also no stitches because the skin around the wound was so abraded, and it's right on the joint again...but we did a joint perfusion and lavage and serious wrapping.

              I would definitely have the vet out first thing in the AM -- that's the conservative/aggressive thing to do, and it will best ensure good healing.
              The big man -- my lost prince

              The little brother, now my main man


              • Original Poster

                Thanks SO much guys! I did cold hose it to clean it out.
                As for the actual size, it is about 1 inch in diameter.
                Please visit the Donate page!



                • #9
                  I'm not a vet, but it doesn't really look like it would be able to be stitched. Just keep it clean and keep a close eye on it. My horse ripped open a big hole under his throat, and my vet just left it open. Just cleaned it/flushed it a couple of times a day.


                  • #10
                    My vet once told me that if it is more than 1" -yes, a bit less- maybe (depends on how much you can do as far as cleaning and self-doctoring), less than 1/2 "- no.

                    Also needs to be within 24 hrs and preferably not scrubbed clean. Cold hosed is fine, but scrubbing wears away the skin cells that help it heal with less scarring.

                    If it were me, I would probably not stitch. I would make sure it is cleaned and treated at least once a day, and keep a good eye on it. Any major heat or swelling call the vet.


                    • #11
                      I don't pretend to be a vet...and I am a bit heartless. See how it goes.
                      It may be that stitches would not hold. Is it deep? It may have something in there. My young horse had something like that which would not heal and it suppurated quite badly - the vet found a piece of stick in there. He just scrubbed it like mad with a Betadine scrub and I dressed it daily - plus a/b's.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                      • #12
                        Oh, I based my call on that it does NOT look like a punture or that it is deep. Superficial.

                        And, yes, keep an eye on it and gently run your hand over the surrounding area every half day just to make sure that no heat (infection) or swelling begins (again, infection).

                        But it looks clean and superficial.

                        ETA: if you think there IS a deep (more than a 1/2" to 3/4") puncture involved then ... go to plan B and call your vet .


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                          I don't pretend to be a vet...and I am a bit heartless. See how it goes.
                          It may be that stitches would not hold. Is it deep? It may have something in there. My young horse had something like that which would not heal and it suppurated quite badly - the vet found a piece of stick in there. He just scrubbed it like mad with a Betadine scrub and I dressed it daily - plus a/b's.
                          Oh, I certainly don't want to even consider pretending to be a vet! Horrifying...
                          And no, it is not deep. It was just all red and gross looking and I freaked a little...
                          Thanks loads for the advice! Super helpful!
                          Please visit the Donate page!



                          • #14
                            My general rule is if I can stick my finger in it it needs sutures. As with any cut, I'll clean it up with a betadine (or similar medical scrub), inspect, and call the vet if I need to, then apply a (dry) bandage or pressure wrap as indicated. Never put any medications on a sutureable wound. If it is obvious that it needs care I call and then clean.

                            Vet's can clean up edges of a wound and suture well after the injury (within 24 hours or so) but it always is better if it is done ASAP so the swelling is minimized and thus the tension on the sutures is less.


                            • #15
                              Had a horse once that ran into a fence with his face and sliced a flap of meat over 6" long. Not obvious, didn't catch it until the next day when we saw it hanging down over his nose. Vet stitched it successfully at about 24 hours, but was very careful to abrade the entire wound surface to remove the incrementally healed stuff into a "fresh" wound. Healed beautifully and never had an issue.


                              • #16
                                A point of reference. If it is through the full skin layer, it should be stitched. How can you tell if it is? By looking carefully at it, and by experience.

                                Your pictured wound looks uneven and irregular and may pose a problem. Cold hose, and put a non-greasy cream on it such as Nolvasan. Stay away from Furacin, there is some thought that it retards wound healing.

                                And speak to your vet.

                                And be thankful that it is above the hock where there is a better blood supply for healing.

                                And speak to your vet.
                                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                • #17
                                  My rule of thumb: if I have to ask, I call the vet.

                                  Better safe than sorry, IME!
                                  "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant