Contusions in horses

2 min read

Contusions in horses - Vetster

Contusions also known as bruises are caused by blunt trauma to a horse's head, body or leg. When a horse takes a direct blow to its body, the underlying structures (like muscles and blood vessels) can be damaged or broken. Pain, lameness or swelling can develop as a result. If your horse develops a contusion it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Symptoms of a contusion in horses

  • Swelling of the area
  • Pain
  • Decreased function of damaged body parts
  • Some radiation of heat from the affected area
  • Bruising

Treatment of contusions in horses   

Depending on the severity of the contusion, various degrees of treatment may be required. If the skin remains intact, applying cold compresses to the affected are for 5-10 minutes can help to reduce pain and inflammation.  Sometimes a wrap may be applied to the area of contusion for the application of pressure to the area.

The veterinarian may also recommend anti-inflammatory and analgesics medications to help to reduce pain and swelling. If the swelling does not resolve in 7 days, sometimes a veterinarian may want to drain the affected area and treat it with antibiotics. Tetanus prophylaxis is also often given.       

Concerned about contusions in horses? Schedule an appointment with one of our veterinary professionals today at for advice and to learn more about your pet’s wellness.

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