Steps on healing a horse’s wound

Once the initial trauma has passed and the wound has been cleaned and treated, the final stage of healing can commence, says Kim Dyson.

The final stage of ‘wound repair’, where the body tries to get itself back into its original state, can take many months. There is no set time period for this process, which involves small fibres pushing through the scar tissue and trying to recreate the original tissue type. There are three types of tissue remodeling: bone, muscle and nerve.

Bone remodeling
A broken bone will reshape with incredible efficiency, as long as the two ends of the break stay aligned, blood supply is sufficient, the area is not stressed too much, and there is no infection.Walking the horse gently on hard level surfaces will help with recovery.

Muscle remodeling
Muscle has the ability to return to its original state, providing the haematoma is correctly treated. However, research shows that the strength of new tissue will not match that of the surrounding tissue for six weeks after apparent recovery.

Nerve remodelling
Think of peripheral nerve tissue as electrical wires. There are many filaments in a casing to ‘insulate’ them. Undue pressure on this cover stops the ‘current’ from flowing and the message is temporarily stopped. In time, the tissue will repair itself and regain function.

Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort) can help repair nerve damage, especially in areas rich in nerve endings. Applying an aqueous cream to the wither twice a day helps soothe the nerves in that area. It is also highly effective for spinal irritation, sticking pains, tearing pain, hypersensitivity and kissing spine, an orthopaedic condition that affects elderly horses (and humans). Nervous horses should be fed 10 drops of tincture three times a day. It is best absorbed in the mucous membranes of the mouth.

Hypericum is good for humans too. It will calm riders before events, while in ointment form can be used to treat puncture wounds, insect bites, mild burns and the like. I dry the herb and make up a tincture that can be used in creams and applied topically. If you are in need of tincture, please do not hesitate to contact me.