Caslicks question

I just bought a 3-yr-old mare who last raced two weeks ago. I purchased her off video and brought her home three days ago. Had her teeth done today and took the opportunity while she was sedated to do a thorough inspection of her body nose to tail. I was surprised to find a dangling mess of string from her caslicks procedure and some oozing sores from a couple suture sites. Ick. She’s been rubbing her tail and I expect this was why. I removed the sutures and cleaned the area. The area is healed from the procedure except for the sores/irritated spots, the vulva is closed as it should be with a suitable urinary opening.

Anyway, how common is this to find? I mean, do people just not bother to remove the sutures? It was pretty gross.

My seller, who is a broker and not the original owner/trainer of the mare, said she’s frequently had to remove old sutures from caslicks procedures done on the track.

My vet generally uses disposable sutures. Idk that I’ve seen one where they were intentionally left in, although I’ve seen a missed suture here and there (but I’ve seen that in other areas too.)

The sutures are supposed to come out after 1 to 2 weeks. The only time I have personally seen someone intentionally leave them in is during breeding or foaling season if they are having to open/close the caslicks multiple times for whatever reason.

Someone dropped the ball.

If the vet is seeing it frequently, I might guess it’s in stables where there is a high turn over of horses being claimed or a lot of change in the humans caring for the horses.


Yes, it happens that stitches stay in. People forget to take them out. It’s an oversight in basic care… trainers who are not “hands on”, relying on grooms who may not have basic horsemanship skills, or may not even care. And yes, the irritation would definately be the cause of the tail rubbing you’ve noticed.