How Horse Wounds Heal

Whether large or small, serious or innocuous, all wounds follow a distinct and complex healing process.

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Whether large or small, serious or innocuous, all wounds follow a distinct and complex healing process. During the 2013 Western Veterinary Conference, held Feb. 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nev., one veterinarian reviewed how wounds heal and how owners can help facilitate healing.

"(Wounds are) a fascinating topic; you never know what you’re going to come across," said Bimbo Welker, DVM, MS, a clinical associate professor in the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a practitioner at OSU’s Large Animal Services, in Marysville, Ohio.

Welker first reviewed some basic wound management steps. Although there’s been "a tremendous amount of research on wound healing, we still can’t speed wound healing up," he explained. We can, however, ensure wounds have an optimum environment in which to heal.

He also reminded veterinarians that skin is a complex organ that can’t regenerate. Instead, wound defects are replaced with fibrous tissue covered by surface epithelium, which reestablishes continuity, he explained

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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