Residual swelling from a wound

A little over a month ago, my horse sustained a small cut on the inside of his right hind fetlock. The cut itself originally was deep but not very big (kind of like a slit) but was quite swollen. Vet confirmed it wasn’t deep enough to stitch. Treatment during the first few days was SMZs, keeping it clean, etc. the first few days showed little to no improvement, and he actually tore it open even worse a few days later and was oozing pus (too late to stitch at this point). The swelling didn’t go down and was traveling up the leg.

Had the vet out and was recommended to keep him in, switch his antibiotics, keep the wound as clean as possible, and to use wonder dust on the wound. He was in stall rest for about 4 days and saw a lot of improvement in swelling.

A few days after turning out as normal, we noticed the wound was oozing. At that point, I had the vet out again and she concluded the wound was not healing properly. We kept him on the antibiotics, and she flushed the wound and recommended munaka honey wrap on all times. We did this for about 10 days and saw significant improvement with the wound no longer open. He was on the antibiotics at this point for two weeks and stopped it.

A few days past and I notice the leg is slightly swollen again. Vet recommends poultice and dmso and I do so with some improvement. Notice some pus under the scab a few days later and decide to clean the wound again thoroughly and wrap with gauze and vet wrap while he’s on turnout to keep the wound dry (the wrap was changed once a day and was on 24 hours). Vet examined again and said to continue doing what I was doing, he said there was some swelling but wasn’t too concerned. He mentioned it most likely will heal as a lump considering the placement. Didn’t recommend putting him back on antibiotics considering at that point it wasn’t oozing very much.

I kept the wound wrapped for 10 days and the wound is no longer oozing pus but does have residual puffiness around the wound. He is now sound and not sensitive when I touch it. At this point, I’m kind of at my wits end and not sure what else to do from here. The wound looks great but just wondering, Is residual swelling around a healing wound normal? Or perhaps keeping it wrapped for multiple days and it’s used to that support, now that it’s gone there is some mild swelling? To confirm it’s not hot and the swelling is very mild, but I can feel it to the touch. It is not very visible to the naked eye and not obviously swollen, but it’s been something I’ve been dealing with for so long it’s just been very stressful.

I’ve got one of those, right above the front ankle, that has had residual swelling for five months. It goes down with exercise and after work and doesn’t impede the flexion of the joint. Both his vets tell me there’s nothing the matter with the horse and that as long as the wound continues to close and heal well, and there is no heat nor discharge, I shouldn’t worry about the swelling. However, if it did not continue to heal, we’d have considered an x-ray to make sure there was nothing in there that oughtn’t have been.

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I am not a vet, but I think based on what you’ve said that your horse will be fine --the swelling will go down gradually and flatten to normal. The swelling you see may be early scar tissue. Again, I think this will resolve. You are doing right by keeping an eye on it and keeping in close contact with your vet.

That sounds pretty similar to what I’m going through, and was thinking the same. I guess I’ll just keep an eye on it and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you, that’s the hope. Just something I’ve never experienced before! I also have spent so much at the vets I don’t want to keep calling!

In my experience cuts on the lower limbs (knees/hocks & down) always tend to be a bit more difficult to heal & resolve than cuts elsewhere, and tend to come with more inflammation to the area. Keeping them moving will help reduce inflammation but it sounds like you are on the right track and are just dealing with normal post-cut swelling.

Keep doing as you have been doing; if you are very worried, I would buy some fly boots just to keep it covered while it continues healing. BTDT, had a similar thing last summer and the horse wore boots 24/7 until it was totally healed.


It’s been covered basically all the time, I just stopped wrapping it because it’s now more dry but bought turnout boots for him to use, I was afraid of rubbing with them but fly boots actually sound like a better option since they’re a bit cooler. I’ll look into that!

Flyboots are my new go-to to protect cuts on the legs when they’re healing. I had to deal with an awful spider bite last summer that went from pinprick to a four inch gaping hole overnight… It took four months to heal and the horse was on 24/7 turnout. I wasn’t comfortable keeping him in boots because it gets so hot in the summer – the fly boots did the trick to protect both the wraps and the leg :+1:

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What kind do you like?

That sounds what I’m looking for, what kind worked best for you?

@Renn_aissance @gracecatherine14 (because I can’t figure out how to multiquote, lol)

I got these:

They frayed by the binding at about four months in and I had to retire one of them, but for a horse who lives out 24/7 (and they were worn 24/7, no breaks at all) I thought it was a fair deal. I’ve heard great things about Shoofly, but I was looking more for the soft mesh type because I was looking more to protect a cut versus prevent fly bites.

I imagine if they weren’t on the world’s roughest player 24/7 they would have lasted much longer.

I was looking at shoofly but worried they would rub, I’ll look into these!

Shoofly are amazing, no rubs. Even when on almost 24/7 through the summer.

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