Puncture Wounds in the Foot

Within this subject, it is also a good time to discuss simple foot abscesses, as they are a common–and often the best possible–outcome for a puncture wound to the foot. Generally before infection can take hold, the puncture must penetrate the dead
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 Remember as a kid playing around an area of the barnyard that was cluttered with some junk? And, while walking on some old boards, a sharp pain shooting up your leg almost simultaneously with the perception of something sharp stabbing into the sole of your foot through your sneaker? The same thing can happen to your horse. Nails, fence staples, stiff pieces of wire, numerous unidentifiable pieces of metal, and even the occasional "lost" syringe needle all share the common bond of being able to wreak havoc on your horse’s foot.

Two things should be mentioned immediately: 1) Many of these injuries can be prevented by careful management–just what was that large, six-penny nail doing in the horse’s stall anyway? And, 2) should these sorts of punctures occur, tetanus prevention must be addressed.

The obvious, but often neglected, first step is to make every effort to prevent this type of injury from happening. As we will discuss later, puncture wounds to the foot can have extremely devastating consequences and should not be taken lightly. The stable environment should be policed heavily for potential sources of foot punctures. All stable help should be made aware of the potential problems and get in the habit of controlling sources of foot puncture.

If there is any construction or fencing going on in the stable area, those workers, who might not be "horse savvy," should be alerted to the danger and asked to make an extra effort to keep track of nails, staples, etc. In addition, those areas always should be examined before being populated with horses. Most farriers are extremely good about controlling stray nails and metal, but it never hurts to double check these areas

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Written by:

Christina S. Cable, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, owns Early Winter Equine in Lansing, New York. The practice focuses on primary care of mares and foals and performance horse problems.

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