Ask a Vet
Heel bulb laceration
29 June, 2011
Topic: Hoof and Foot Lameness
Answer Provided by: Mike Pownall DVM
What do I do for heel bulb lacerations?
Heel bulb lacerations can involve many sensitive structures that lie just under the skin. For this reason I would not assume that since the wound looks small that it is not serious. I have treated many cuts in this area that appeared small but extended far into the heel region. The coffin joint, the tendons behind the heel and the navicular structures are surprisingly superficial. We advise our clients that any wound near a joint has the potential to be very serious. It takes approximately four days for an infection to develop, so the horse may look very sound and comfortable for several days after the injury before the external signs of infection become evident. If there is involvement of the coffin joint or tendon sheath it could be very difficult to treat later. I would call your veterinarian to assess the wound and give you a proper protocol to treat the wound. They may also prescribe an antibiotic and administer a tetanus toxoid. Hopefully, it is a superficial cut but it is far better to be safe than sorry.
Mike Pownall, DVM