Pride is a 10 yo Palomino gelding that got himself into a bit of trouble playing around with a paddock mate a couple of weeks ago. While horsin’ around, he reared up and came down on the edge of the roof of his shed – which was quite high – so it must have been an impressive rear! Pride ended up with a large horizontal laceration on the ventral surface of his neck. He cut partially or fully through several muscle groups in his neck – the sternocephalicus, brachiocephalicus and sternohyoideus muscles. He also cut through is right jugular vein. His wound was only inches from his pulsating carotid artery and scraped the surface of his trachea, or windpipe, but luckily did not go through it.
Pride’s owners were very fast acting, and quickly wrapped an ace bandage and applied pressure to the wound which very well could have saved his life. They brought him into All West Veterinary Hospital right way. Dr. Jeneé was on call and met them at the hospital. She ligated the jugular vein that was cut (horses only need one – even racehorses!), placed a drain and sutured the muscles and skin back together. Then a pressure bandage was applied around his neck to help reduce swelling and prevent more bleeding.
Although a lacerated jugular sounds like a scary thing, and it certainly can be life threatening – the quick action on the part of his owners prevented him from losing too much blood. Pride did not show any signs of shock from blood loss at the hospital. In fact, he was just excited to get his treatment over with so he could head to his stall for dinner.
Pride was monitored overnight in one of our camera stalls and he did great. He went home the next morning with antibiotics, pain/inflammation medication and a bandaged neck. He has been doing great at home and his sutures should come out this week. He is a really sweet boy and was great to work with. We hope from here on out we only see Pride for preventive care!
Would you be prepared if your horse was in an emergency? Keeping bandage materials on hand is a great idea. Additionally, making sure that you have access to a trailer and working with your horse so that he loads easily is crucial to getting him timely care. It is nice to have some pain medication on hand, however it is a good idea to call and speak to a veterinarian before giving any medications. In some instances, horses are better off without them. For example, banamine can inhibit platelet function which is necessary to form a blood clot, so when bleeding is a concern, your veterinarian would probably like to see the horse prior to it getting any medications.
Whenever there is a question, give us a call. We have an equine veterinarian on call 24/7 to answer questions and see cases in the hospital and in the field! Check out our Facebook page for sequential pictures of Pride’s injury and recovery.