Horses are easily injured so treatment of equine wounds is fairly common. There are many products available that can be applied topically on equine wounds, and some are good and some are not so good. To tell the difference, you can’t go to Dr. Google because you can’t determine the truth from the people trying to sell you something, regardless of their glowing testimonials. The best plan is to ask your vet. Dr. Dean Hendrickson from Colorado State indicates the best and safest wound cleaner is saline as it does not damage the tissue. You can get sterile saline that is used as a contact lens solution or you can get large bags of sterile saline from your veterinarian. You can also use regular tap water but it is not the same concentration as saline so although it can be used, it is not ideal.
Lots of folks use betadine in wounds but full-strength betadine can kill tissue, impair healing, and contribute to infection instead of preventing it. If you are going to use betadine, we usually mix it in saline and make it about the color of weak iced tea. However, there is no evidence to suggest that it is any more effective than using saline alone. Chlorhexidine had also been used on wounds and just like betadine, can lead to damage of the tissue and infections if mixed too concentrated. Hydrogen peroxide can be used but it is not very beneficial or effective in preventing infection. Silver sulfadiazine can be used on wounds and is effective at killing bacteria and yeast. Another topical antibiotic is the yellow Furacin ointment and although it was used commonly in the past, it is not very effective as an antibacterial and can even delay wound healing. Triple antibiotic ointment can be used and is safe and effective for most equine wounds.
VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.