This post was contributed by Sierra Lynch.
you can find her website address at the bottom of the article.
When a horse takes a direct blow to a muscle, we say he has suffered a contusion. Contusions are almost always followed by swelling. Your knee-jerk reaction is apply ice to the injury. Good choice. But if you don't have an ice pack available, there is another option. I'll tell you what I do in a moment. But first, let me tell you a little about these kinds of deep bruises. It will help you understand why we treat them the way we do.When it comes to contusions, horses are a lot like us humans do. A direct blow from a blunt object crushes the underlying muscle fibers, perhaps even bursting some blood vessels. The blow may not break the skin, but the tissue damage can be significant. And it's always painful for your horse.You want to relieve his pain as quickly as possible. For horse injuries like contusions, think "cold." Decreasing the temperature of the injured area should be the first thing you do.Why Cold Helps Horse Contusions The pain your horse feels is from the inflammation of his injured muscles. If you touch them, you'll notice they're not only swollen, but also hot. So to take down the inflammation you want to make the surface temperature to be cold. That's why ice is the best choice to take down the inflammation and relieve the pain. Professional athletes do this all the time. Your equine athlete (i.e., your horse) is no different. Several companies sell chemical first-aid ice packs for just this purpose. You can find them in your higher-end tack shops. Or if you don't have one in your area, you can get them online. But if your horse injures himself and you don't have one on hand, what do you do?
The Next Best Thing To An Ice Pack
Your next best choice is very simple. And I've seen it work a hundred times. It's called "cold hosing" and it is as close as the nearest garden hose. Just run cold water over the injured tissue. Works great especially in the winter months when the water is naturally cold. My veterinary manuals say apply cold temperatures to a contusion for 5 minutes, then off for 15 minutes one time if the skin is intact. In the real world, I've found that may not be enough to take the swelling down. Sometimes I'll run cold water over it for a longer period of time, depending on how bad a contusion it is. If the injury is on one of his legs, I'll wrap it in a standing wrap as well. You'll want to do this to put pressure on the bruise. With cold water and a pressure wrap, you'll be well on your way to taking the swelling down. And less swelling means less pain for your horse.
Sierra Lynch makes it easy to keep your horse healthy and happy. With over 16 years experience riding and caring for horses, Sierra will make sure your horse is always ready to ride.
Sierra Lynch makes it easy to keep your horse healthy and happy. With over 16 years experience riding and caring for horses, Sierra will make sure your horse is always ready to ride. Visit Sierra on the web at Horse IQ