Wound Management for Farm Animals

MOTHER's Country Vet shares tips on farm animal health, this issue covers solutions to a number of injuries that can be sustained and detailed information on wound management for farm animals.

| December 2000/January 2001

  • Wound management for farm animals
    Any informed person can administer some early treatments to ensure complete wound healing.

  • Wound management for farm animals

Jon Geller, DVM, offers his farm animal health experience in caring for cows, calves, horses and sheep. This issue covers the art of wound management for farm animals and details on how to treat common injuries. 

Liters of blood ran down my arms, soaking my coveralls and congealing like cherry pudding in puddles around my boots. "All bleeding eventually stops," I said over and over to myself as the blood from a gelding's shoulder wound began to ease. Soon the horse would weaken and collapse and the bleeding would, in fact, stop.

Critters on the farm manage to get hurt in many ways, and while Mother Nature does a pretty good job with healing wounds, domestic animals do not possess the genetic fortitude of their wild relatives so wound management for farm animals is a must. Untreated wounds can get infected, abscess, putrefy, necrotize and slough, leading to amputation, or, in the case of a large animal, euthanasia. For the cat with the bite-wound abscess, the foal with the wirecutter, the dairy cow with the lacerated teat, or the dog whose foot was crushed by a coyote trap, timely and correct treatment is essential. By following a few consistent steps, any informed person can administer some early treatments to ensure complete wound-healing.

Farm Animals: Open Wounds

If you have to stop the bleeding on a bad cut, there are few treatments better than applying direct pressure. It is by far the most effective way to stop bleeding. Ice packs can also help to constrict blood vessels.

After the bleeding stops, the most important step in open wound treatment is irrigation. Thoroughly flush the wound with dilute disinfectant, saline solution or even water. The fluid flushes out contamination and bacteria, and provides gentle pressure on the macerated tissues to stimulate the healing process. Eventually, circulating proteins in the bloodstream attract a new layer of epithelial cells to form a matrix of healing tissue over the wound. Using this scaffolding of new cells, the body will, over time, rebuild its normal tissues.

In the case of the injured gelding, I hung a liter of fluids with an extension line from the ceiling joist, letting the fluids gravitate down into the wound. I returned a week later to determine what muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin were still viable and then trim away any dead tissue (a process called debridement).

7/17/2017 7:15:40 PM

Today I took possession of a young Brangus steer. Very skinny and his ears had been shredded by a dog. The owner had him on antibiotics for about a week and had been putting something purple on the ears. What is left of his ears seems to be drying out. Should I flush them and use something else to keep them soft and help them heal!

12/29/2014 11:38:00 PM

I have an organic herbal formula that I have successfully treated massive infected open wounds on horse. One particular horse had sever open wounds on his face and all 4 legs, hock to knee. With in 24 hours the owner noticed an increase in circulation to the wounds and granulation tissue. With in 7 to 10 day a significant decease in wound size. New skin and hair growth was noted. You may contact me at docdougw@gmail.com or contact the horse owner with documented photographs at tiffanymorton70@gmail.com


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