What are they
These are swellings containing blood. They vary in size and are located under the skin and can form quite quickly. Basil developed one last year, I think he was kicked.
- Swelling, usually around an area of muscle
- Not usually sore
- Area warm
- In early stages the swellings are soft
- Later become hard
- Swelling can vary from the size of a golf ball to the size of a football!
- Haematomas are most often seen on the chest but can form anywhere.
Knock, kick or any blow that damages the skin and underlying tissues severely enough that the blood vessels rupture and blood leaks into the surrounding tissue.
In the early stages applying an ice pack for 10 minutes or cold hosing will help stop the bleeding and reduce the swelling. Once the haematoma has formed use cold foments. Rest, as further exercise can increase the amount of blood leaking into the area. Keep the horse quiet and do not rub or massage the area as this can dislodge blood clots and cause further damage.
They often heal on their own. However, large haematomas should be checked by a vet. They may try to drain the swelling but this does increase the risk of introducing infection. So most vets will leave it to heal on its own but they may prescribe antibiotics or bute and give a tetanus injection.
Some horses can be left with scar tissue.
I used a cold fomentation on Basil!
These are one of those things it is difficult to prevent as horses always have a tendency to find a way to injure themselves. However, make sure there are no obvious objects they can knock themselves on in the field or stable and introduce new horses slowly to reduce the chance of kicks.
Have you seen Wednesday's video 'Basil's Spring Makeover' on my You Tube channel.
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Until next time!