These are deep injuries with small entry points and can potentially be very serious. The type of treatment given will depend on where the wound occurs on the horse's body and the size and depth of the wound. Thorns, nails, and pieces of fencing or hedge, piercing the horse's body or feet, can cause puncture wounds.

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NB Puncture wounds are potentially very high risk for tetanus - which is normally contracted from soil contamination. You must always keep your horse's tetanus vaccination up to date.

Call your vet immediately if there is a foreign body such as a piece of fencing in your horse's body - do not try to remove it! If you think the puncture wound may be near a nerve or a joint, or your horse has an injury to the foot or leg and is not taking any weight on it, you should also call your vet straightaway.


Remember, if you are at all concerned call your vet for further advice.

If your horse has a puncture wound to the foot and you do not notice it initially you will soon see and feel the problem  because as pus in the foot develops it becomes painful for the horse. Your farrier or vet should be able to pare the foot back to release the pus.
If infection is introduced into a joint or a tendon sheath through a puncture wound, septic arthritis may be caused. This is extremely painful and needs prompt, aggressive treatment - usually at an equine hospital. It may not be possible to successfully treat this condition and euthanasia can result.

Read more A-Z Horse ailment articles