Shaping the future of animal health

First aid for bleeding

horse woundWounds can bleed quite dramatically when horses are injured. It is easy to overestimate the amount of bleeding, as even a small amount of blood on the ground can appear excessive!

In most cases, wounds will stop bleeding without any treatment. However, if there is excessive bleeding of bright red blood or the bleeding is periodic, it is likely that an artery has been severed and you should call your vet as soon as you have applied first aid to try and control the blood loss.

Applying pressure directly to the wound can slow profuse bleeding. This can be done with a pressure pad such as a nappy or a sanitary napkin or a folded cloth (the cleanest that you have at the time). If the wound is on a limb, secure the pressure pad in place with a firmly applied adhesive bandage. If the wound is on the body, hold the pressure pad in position for 10-15 minutes. If blood continues to ooze through the bandage, do not remove the original pad; apply another pad bandage over the area. This will reduce the risk of disturbing blood clot formation, which is vital to stem the blood flow from a large wound.

In most cases bleeding will stop within 15-30 minutes, however it is advisable to keep the bandage in place for 30-60 minutes or until your vet arrives. If bleeding is moderate move the horse quietly to a shelter or stable. If you suspect that an artery is involved do not attempt to move the horse. Keep the horse warm, particularly if it has lost a lot of blood or appears to be in shock and do not allow the horse to move around excessively.

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