Normally, any wound(s) that a horse sustains should heal on its own and in a reasonable amount of time. What is considered reasonable will differ based on the particular horse and the extent of its wounds. When a wound is taking an unusually long time to heal, there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. Wounds which fail to heal for weeks even after treatment or which begin to heal only to revert back to its original state, need to be seen and treated by a veterinarian right away.
Often times, when a horse’s wound is slow to heal, there is an underlying infection or a foreign object or matter is stuck in the wound. The result is inflammation and delayed healing. Such foreign substances might includes things such as wood splinters, hair, wire, bone, essentially any matter or substance that the horse has come into contact with or which came into contact with it.
In order to determine what it causing the delay in healing, a veterinarian may perform a series of tests. Ultrasound is a well regarded and often utilized diagnostic tool for this purpose. It allows a vet to see what, if anything has become embedded in the horse’s tissues. If something is found, it may be necessary to remove it surgically. If the latter is required, a horse owner should rest assured. The vast majority of horses make it through this type of surgery just fine and heal very well.
A horse owner should contact a veterinarian right away if they suspect that a wound is healing suspiciously slow. Identifying the problem and figuring out what is wrong can delay further problems. A delay could result in a serious infection or an injury that needlessly worsens.
It is impossible to correctly guess which horses will have problems with wound healing and which ones will not. It’s not necessary a condition as much as it is something that happens.
A wound that doesn’t heal can be very painful for a horse. There is also the risk of the horse developing an infection, if they don’t already have one. Sometimes wounds don’t heal because of an underlying infection. It is very important to cover an open wound so that debris doesn’t further agitate the wound or lead to an infection. If either occurs, a bad situation could quickly and swiftly get worse.
The reasons that horse’s wounds do not heal vary. As mentioned above, a primary infection might be the cause as could a foreign object stuck in or under the visible part of the wound. A secondary infection may also be the culprit, causing an already bad condition to worsen. Puncture wounds are amongst the most difficult to determine the underlying cause of non-healing. This is because it is tough, if not impossible, to see what, if anything is lodged in the wound or how bad the injury really is. This type of injury may close up, trapping the infection inside the wound. Overtime, if an infection is indeed present, the wound might break open and begin to ooze.
When a horse’s wounds fail to heal, the veterinarian may put it through a full battery of tests. Such tests might include a physical examination, wound probing, radiography and ultrasound. Exploration surgical might be necessary, if the aforementioned doesn’t’ deliver any answers.
The symptoms of a non-healing wound are pretty obvious. The natural healing processes do not take effect or begin and then are stymied. In cases of the former, nothing happens. The wound does not scab over or improve in any way. In reference to the latter, a scab may begin to form or the skin grows back over the wound only to continually break open. Both are signs of a very serious problem and warrant an immediate a call to a veterinarian.
Facilitating the healing of a wound that isn’t healing on its own can be tough. It seems that sometimes such wounds are resistant to healing no matter what form of treatment is utilized. It may be necessary for a veterinarian to prescribe several courses of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Removing any foreign bodies will also be important. Cleaning and packing the wound can help prevent the surface of the wound from closing up, before the underlying wound is completely healed.
PRP As A Treatment Option
PRP (Platelet rich plasma) therapy is being used with increased frequency to treat horses for a variety of conditions, including non-healing wounds. It has been used in human beings in different capacities in the past and now with even more frequency. It has proven to be particularly helpful in the acceleration of soft tissue conditions and injuries. Because of the success in the human realm, interest has been sparked regarding its potential to effectively treat horses. Thus far, it has proven to be very effective.
PRP as a treatment option for non healing wounds in horses is very new. However, because of the success many veterinarians are having with it, it, along with other natural treatments, it is being used with increased regularity.
PRP is a good option for non healing wounds because it utilizes the body’s natural healing processes to jumpstart wound healing. The plasma which contains very valuable growth factors is separated from other blood components by way of a centrifuge machine. This machine spins the blood and separates the components that make it up. The plasma is drawn out and injected directly into the injury or spread over a wound via a PRP gel.
PRP therapy, when effective, can significantly improve the rate in which a wound heals. A horse with a non-healing wound is in desperate need of the aforementioned, PRP therapy can provide it or at least it does in many cases.
PRP therapy is a new treatment and so while many veterinarians offer it and believe in it, it has not totally replaced other forms of treatment. It is however, being used in concert with others. It works very well alongside does of anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics.
The treatment of non-healing wounds using PRP therapy can take place in a vet’s office or administered by a vet at a farm or wherever the horse is housed. The process is a simple one. The veterinarian will draw blood from the horse, place it in a centrifuge, where it is spun until all of the components are separated. The plasma is removed and then injected into the wound.
Whole blood can be used to administer PRP therapy to the wound. PRP gel can be used as well. This type of gel works in a similar manner as whole blood. The growth factors present in the gel, just like the ones in whole blood, are responsible for the accelerated healing. PRP gel contains growth factors, a high concentration of platelets, fibrin matrix and WBC and phagocytic cells. It helps to facilitate healing, in addition to providing a provisional scaffold that is beneficial to the healing process. Some veterinarians will use PRP gel in concert with grafts or stem cell therapy.
PRP gel is appropriate for the treatment of external wounds. When it is used for this purpose, it needs to be activated with either calcium chloride or thrombin. The amount prescribed will depend on the size and severity of the wound. When administered, the entire wound should be covered. Most wounds need between 5 and 10 mLs. It is possible to spray the PRP onto the wound or applied to a bandage and then placed on the horse. Sterilized gauze can also be used to place the gel directly on the wound. The wound is then wrapped and bandaged.
When whole blood is used, generally 52 mL of blood is drawn and mixed with 8 mL of an anticoagulant, either Acid-citrate-dextrose (ACD) or Citrate-phosphate-dextrose (CPD). It is placed in a centrifuge, spun until the components are separated and the plasma injected into the wound.
After the horse receives PRP therapy, it will need to rest until a veterinarian clears it for activity. As many applications of PRP gel or whole blood therapy as needed, should be administered to the horse. The worse the wound is the more PRP is likely needed. There should be few, if any, complications because the treatment is a natural one and uses natural bodily processes to facilitate and accelerate healing. This is one of PRP therapies, best attributes, the fact that complications don’t typically occur, at least none caused by the therapy itself.