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Frequently Asked Questions

Common Horse Injuries


Q1)  What are some common horse injuries?

As all owners know horses seem to be prone to injury. Some people say you can a put a horse in a pasture all by himself with no trees and perfect fencing, no holes in the earth and nothing in sight except grass and he would still injure himself. Here is a listing of just a few of the many injuries a horse can incur, both in the stable and turned out.


Horses seem to be especially talented at acquiring lacerations of all sizes, shapes and deepness on every imaginable area of their body. Lacerations on the head and lower legs will produce a lot of blood due to the close proximity of blood vessels to the surface of the skin and can therefore sometimes be deceiving. If you rinse the laceration with clean water you will be able to view the injury more clearly and determine whether it is deep enough to warrant stitches. 

Puncture Wounds 

Puncture wounds can be particularly dangerous because of the risk of deep tissue infection. They are also dangerous because they are not as noticeable as a bleeding laceration and may go untreated until it is too late and a severe infection has set in. A deep puncture wound needs to be irrigated by the vet in order to remove any residual bacteria.

Scrapes and Abrasions

Although not usually life threatening scrapes and abrasions can interfere with daily grooming, riding and other activities and they just plain look nasty. If the abrasions are over a large area the horse can also become susceptible to infection and dehydration. The other issue to consider with scrapes and abrasions is the possibility of imbedded foreign material. Scrapes and abrasions are usually treated with a thorough cleaning with an anti-bacterial soap (irrigation for more severe injuries) and depending on the environment of the horse a water-soluble wound medication can be applied.


Contusions are caused by blunt trauma and although they do not appear as traumatic as lacerations they can be just as dangerous. Contusions are most often the result of a kicking injury from another horse. The damage can occur to a heavily muscled area such as the upper leg, shoulder or hind quarters or to more delicate areas such as the lower legs or the head/face area. In either case immobilization (to reduce circulation and blood flow), cold compresses and a call to the vet are the best treatment.

General Lameness

Lameness can be elusive and confusing. The best way to recognize lameness is to be very familiar with your horse's gaits and self-carriage so that you are able to immediately recognize any lameness discomfort. Indications of lameness can be the result of something as simple as a stone wedged in the bottom of the foot  to something as complicated and irreversible as torn ligaments or even a bone fracture. If lameness and/or swelling does not resolve itself within a matter of hours, consider contacting a veterinarian.

For more detailed First-Aid information go to:

FAQs First-Aid

Back to Common Horse Injuries Index    

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