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Cut on Lip... looks weird

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  • Cut on Lip... looks weird

    So I went out the barn again and noticed my horse had cut his lip. I don't go out as often as I would like due to school, work, and physical therapy, so I didn't even know about it until a few days after it happened. But the girl who cares for the horses said she has been cleaning it. She told me it looks better than it did the first day, but it still looks gross to me (I'm also a worry-wart). I don't know if this is normal or if I should worry, but it is the size of about a quarter, and it is white on the outside. In my mind, I'm imagining that puss should be coming out of it, almost like a zit.

    How do I know it is healing? When should I call the vet out? Honestly, I would have called them the first day since I don't have that much experience with injuries... none of my past horses ever hurt themselves while I leased them).


  • #2
    They get their lips caught in fences, especially with splits in the board they are reaching over to nibble on the other side, or on brush or junk in the pasture sometimes, have to be careful to watch that. But it's not uncommon to see them do it. The lip is loose and fleshy, tears easily. This sounds like an abrasion, bite or puncture wound though, not a tear. But any time the skin is broken, it can lead to problems sometimes.

    Because this thing is in an area where scars are very visible and it has been several days-at least-since it happened???? I'd call the vet. It's not life threatening but it has not healed and it will leave a mark if not dealt with. If there is any possibility of infection, he needs some antibiotics, last thing you need is an infection that spreads and/or pulls down his condition.

    He should have had an antibiotic cream applied when it was first discovered, either by the barn or by you...but it sounds like you were not notified and the barn gal is just "cleaning" it? Pity, infection is easier to get rid of when the wound is fresh. Cheaper too.

    Does he have a fever? Is he eating normally (if you know). Is the area around the wound hot? Tender? Rock hard? Mushy? Tell your vet what you see and feel.

    He could even have a stinger buried in there causing an abcess. That is common and it needs to come out ASAP.

    No panic button here but the vet should take a look.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks!! I wanted to ease my curiosity if a vet is needed or not. I'll try and get out today, if not tomorrow for sure, and check his temperature & get more information. He was eating & poops were normal.

      Is there a photo online of what an abscess would look like, if it was on the lip?

      The girl at the barn told me she was using peroxide (or something similar) to clean it and some ointment (possible Corona, but I don't remember exactly). I just asked her if an antibiotic cream was used & she told me it was.


      • #4
        Honestly, I'd lay off the Corona until you know what's wrong. That's just a lanoline based salve to remoisturize and soften, maybe help grow hair back. Sometimes it can clog a wound that should stay open.

        Is the skin broken at all? If it's a stinger or tiny sliver or something like that, it could have closed up and nothing topical is going to penetrate enough to do anything to the actual wound site. Might have been in there awhile and is just now trying to abcess.

        I once turned mine out in a board fenced round pen and went to school another horse. Came out to find his upper lip hanging by a thread-stuck his head thru the lower boards to nibble and got it caught in a split in the ground rail. Bleeech, nasty. Took 40 stitches...on a Sunday night long before cell phones or other niceties.

        Healed fine, almost no scarring. Had to flush it top to bottom (double bleeech) for a few days.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • Original Poster

          What do you mean exactly, by if the skin has broken? I am now starting to think it was an abscess and wish I had been told about this sooner. It looks almost like a bit white zit. The area that is affected is swollen (maybe it is squishy) and white. One part in the corner, it looked like there was a scab starting to form. There isn't any blood from what I saw. I was told it was pretty nasty and was gone down in size.

          I'm attempting to get a picture sent to me so I can figure out if a vet needs to get out here asap. grrr... not happy


          • #6
            A picture might be worth a thousand words but NOT for diagnosing some kind of injury and particularly over the internet. Save your time for talking to the vet...and you need to go ahead and put in a call for them. What looks like a scab is likely the wound breaking open to drain but closing before it can completly flush itself out-soft swelling and heat are a big clue there. It is, indeed, nasty.

            Like I said, not life threatening however could make him sick and it should already have healed on it's own if it was going to. Trust your judgement, you are not being a worry wort-that's what vets are there for so use one here.

            And, yeah you should have been told alot earlier so you could have options other then a hydrogyn peroxide wash and Corona which is not going to do a thing.

            Let us know what their opinion is, I vote for an imbedded object (stinger, sliver) or an old minor wound going to abcess. Not at all uncommon. They will lance, lavage, apply antibiotics, maybe put in a stitch or 2 and put him on more antibiotics for a week or so.

            Should not be a bank buster either. Just a tranq, a local and 30 minutes or so plus the meds.

            I wouldn't make it an emergency call but don't wait, I wouldn't. Gone on long enough, too long actually.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


            • Original Poster

              I am placing a call as soon as I get out of the office for lunch. I would have had her out the first day to avoid all of this :/ Thanks so much for your help!!! I truly appreciate it


              • #8
                Good girl. It's the right thing to do for that horse.

                Be sure to update so we know what the diagnosis is, it has me curious.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                • #9
                  Last spring my gelding freaked out in the cross ties and smashed his head against the wall, splitting his upper lip open right where his lips touch when his mouth is closed. Some miscommunication with the vet led to them not actually coming out so I just did my best to keep it clean. Four or five days later I took him to a show and of course it started getting infected while I'm three hours from home. Hit him up with antibiotics for a couple of days and flushed & cleaned it three times a day with Vetericyn and it healed up really quickly and now you can't even see where it was. I was worried about what I could use on it since it was basically IN his mouth but I was told the Vetericyn was OK.
                  It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!


                  • #10
                    Tell your caretaker to lay off the peroxide.
                    It's fine to use it initially but then it actually prevents a wound from healing.
                    This stuff will kill healthy tisue & that is probably the white you are seeing.
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks everyone! The vet is coming out next week... seems like everyone's horse decided it was time to hurt themselves in this nice weather . Told the girl at the barn that I would be cleaning it everyday and the vet recommended betadine & neosporin until she can come out. Turns out, the barn wasn't using Corona, but Ichthammol instead. Although, I don't know much about that particular ointment really.


                      • #12
                        The barn help is using peroxide, and then a drawing salve???...If the barn help feels the wound has something in it, a vet should be called out, ASAP. It sounds like that type of treatment could be doing more harm than good. It could be really irritating that wound, and keeping it open, rather than letting it heal. Definitely a good idea to have a vet look at it, and soon!

                        I would also look into what decisions are made about wound care at the barn. Ichthammol is usually used as a drawing slave to help draw splinters, etc., to the skin surface, and it causes heat, esp. when covered by a bandage (which I assume was not used on the lip). I'm not sure why they decided to use that-I wouldn't apply that every day without good reason...Triple antibiotic ointment certainly wouldn't hurt, however....Hope the horse is better soon!


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks Spurgirl! I am hoping he is okay and everything is going to be okay also. I don't understand the reasons behind why things were done the way they were, but I definitely did learn some new things about everything.

                          I went out last night to clean the wound. Seems like the puss had drained out on its own or the white layer that I was seeing was skin and had peeled off. There was a small portion of white skin that came off on its own when I was using the betadine mixture.

                          Thankfully, my horse was a champ and let me do everything I wanted to do without any fuss at all... as long as he got a few treats before and after.