Bruising in Horses

Cecilia de Cardenas
Nov 14, 2008
2 min read
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

It may not seem like it, but horses have the ability to become bruised just as people do. A bruise is simply broken blood vessels under the skin, usually due to trauma. Often it is difficult to see a bruise on a horse’s body due to the animal’s fur coat.  More frequently, you can detect a bruise by heat radiating from the area and a pain reaction when you touch it.

Bruising is not normally a serious issue, although frequent and easy bruising may indicate a bigger problem with your horse’s health. In most cases, there is no need to even see a veterinarian when your horse has a bruise..

Symptoms and Types

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Skin discoloration
  • A warm or hot feeling in the affected area

A common type of bruise that affects horses is “bruised sole,” also called “stone bruise” by experienced horse owners. This is a type of bruise on the bottom of a horse’s hoof that results from the horse walking over rough, hard ground, and may lead to lameness. Needless to say, this is the type of condition that usually affects working horses and athletic horses more than pleasure horses, as they are subjected to more strenuous walking conditions.

Causes

Trauma to a particular area is normally to blame for any bruises on your horse. This can be something as simple as playing with other horses or an accident with its human caretaker. “Bruised sole,” on the other hand, is generally a result of treading over unusually hard or uneven terrain.

Diagnosis

A common bruise on a horse is usually easily diagnosed, either by you or by a veterinarian. A simple bruise is nothing to worry too much about, especially when you know what caused the bruise. Frequent bruising, however, may be a sign of something more serious and should be checked by a veterinarian.

Treatment

With bruised sole or other more serious bruises, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may be administered to further alleviate the pain.

Living and Management

Resting the horse is important for the healing of bruises. It normally takes no more than a week to ten days for a bruise to occur and heal.

Prevention

If it is known, removal of the object that has caused the bruising is a good way to prevent future recurrences.

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