I was called by a client who’s horse had sat on a star picket during the night. The horse was quite distressed when she found it, it had managed to pull its hood over its eyes and then back itself into the corner of the paddock, if it stepped forward it was putting its chest on an electric fence, and if it sat back it was on a star picket, it chose to sit back on the star picket.

The owner had called the vet but they were unable to get there for an hour or two and the horse was quite upset and obviously in pain, I was asked if there was anything I could do to help before the vet arrived.

On arrival the horse was quite noticeably upset and had a wound on its backside that was about the size of a fist, it was clean but weeping and had a flap or skin hanging over the hole. In these cases obviously the vet is the first person you call, which had been done already, now to answer the earlier question as to whether I could do anything in the interim, the answer is yes.

The main thing with the laser and open wounds is to get onto them as soon as possible, the sooner you can stimulate the wound to start to heal the better, but my first port of call was to try and settle the mare and help with her pain. I started by treating the acupuncture points for pain, this seemed to instantly calm her down, her breathing became much slower and more shallow. Once i had covered this I had a look at the wound, the main thing here is self preservation, she was very sore and being over 17.2hh and a fairly handy cow-kicker I felt it best that we wait for the vet, this was more actually from the point of view that we needed to check there was nothing in there and that there were no major structures being affected than from the point of view of being kicked, i regularly worked on this mare and though she was quite a lady, I knew the owner and myself could get around the issue of kicking.

At this point the vet actually arrived, her first comment was that the mare seemed very relaxed and calm, as a therapist once the vet arrives I like to take a back seat and let the vet do her job,and just observe.

The interesting thing for me was that the sedation given was very small as they commented that she obviously wasn’t in too much pain, judging by her heart rate, on examination she nearly removed the vets head and was given another top up before they proceeded further.

They decided against stitching or removing the flap, cleaned it up and put her on penicillin.

After the vet left I took advantage of the sedation, covered the laser head in glad wrap and stuck it in the wound and lasered it (after clearance from the vet) we decided to treat the wound every second day, and I arranged to come back in a couple of days for the next treatment. The next day the owner rang to say that she had taken her off the penicillin due to a reaction and so she was now on a natural version of antibiotic.

The photos below show the photos at each visit, it was treated every second day for the first week then twice a week for the following three weeks, at each visit the laser was inserted in the wound until it was closed up, the final photo is exactly four weeks after the injury.

The horse went back into work a week after the injury.

The lump at the top of the wound is the flap that the vets decided to leave.

Myself and the owner were very happy with the result and how quickly it came together. The mare went on to win a competition five weeks after the injury.

Anna Ford | Epona Equine Massage


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