How to Get Rid of Bed Sores on Horses: A Comprehensive Guide

Bed sores, also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, can be a common issue for horses. These sores typically develop on the fetlocks or ankles and can become open wounds that are prone to infection. Fortunately, with proper care and preventive measures, you can effectively get rid of bed sores and ensure the well-being of your horse.

To get rid of bed sores on horses, it’s crucial to focus on prevention. This includes providing suitable bedding, creating a comfortable environment, and using protective boots or wraps when necessary. In severe cases, veterinary intervention may be required for specialized treatment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bed sores, or decubitus ulcers, can develop on a horse’s fetlocks or ankles due to inadequate cushioning on hard ground.
  • Prevention is key, and options include providing soft bedding, using rubber mats or thick bedding material in the horse’s corral, or using protective boots or wraps.
  • It’s essential to create a suitable environment for the horse, such as a dry paddock or corral with soft bedding or grass for them to lie down on.
  • Protective boots for horses can provide cushioning and protect the horse’s ankles from abrasions. Homemade horse boots using polo wraps are also an option.
  • If a horse already has severe bed sores, veterinary advice and treatment are essential for proper healing and prevention of further occurrences.

Preventing Bed Sores: The Importance of Environment and Bedding

In order to prevent bed sores in horses, it is crucial to create a suitable environment that minimizes the risk of these painful ulcers. Horses should be provided with proper bedding and an environment that allows for comfortable resting and lying down.

If a horse is kept in a dry paddock or corral, it is important to ensure that soft bedding or grass is available for them to lie on. This helps to provide cushioning and reduces the pressure on their joints and limbs. Adding rubber mats or a thick layer of bedding material can also serve as a buffer between the horse’s body and the hard ground.

If altering the environment is not feasible, another option is to use protective boots or wraps for the horse’s limbs. These can provide additional cushioning and reduce the risk of bed sores. It is important to ensure that the boots or wraps fit properly and are not too tight, as this can cause discomfort or restrict circulation.

Protective Boots and Wraps: A Solution for Bed Sore Prevention

When it comes to preventing bed sores in horses, protective boots and wraps can be an effective solution. These specialized horse accessories provide cushioning and protection to the horse’s ankles, reducing the risk of developing painful sores. There are various types of protective boots available, including neoprene-lined boots with adjustable straps, designed to offer optimal comfort and support.

For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, homemade horse boots using polo wraps can be a viable alternative. By cutting the polos to size and wrapping them three times around the horse’s front ankles, the fetlock joint can be adequately covered and protected. It’s important to ensure that the boots or wraps fit properly and are not too tight, as this can cause more harm than good.


Type of Protective Boot Benefits
Neoprene-lined boots with adjustable straps Provides cushioning and support
Homemade horse boots using polo wraps Cost-effective solution

When selecting protective boots or wraps, it’s essential to consider the specific needs and preferences of your horse. Some horses may require more support and padding, while others may be comfortable with lighter options. Regular inspection and maintenance of the boots or wraps are also crucial to ensure they remain in good condition and continue to provide the necessary protection.

Healing and Treating Existing Bed Sores: When Veterinary Intervention is Necessary

When bed sores or decubitus ulcers have already developed on a horse, it is crucial to seek veterinary intervention for proper treatment. The first step in the healing process is to clean and dry the affected area to prevent infection. A topical dressing may then be applied to promote healing. To provide additional support and protection, the leg can be wrapped with thick quilts and bandages.

During the healing process, it is essential to closely follow the veterinarian’s recommended treatment protocols. This may include regular cleaning and redressing of the wounds, as well as administering any prescribed medications. It’s important to note that each case may require a unique treatment plan based on the severity of the bed sores and the horse’s overall health.

Once the bed sores have healed, it is crucial to take proactive measures to prevent their recurrence. Using protective boots or wraps can help cushion and protect the horse’s legs, reducing the risk of future bed sores. Regular monitoring of the horse’s condition and implementing preventative measures, such as maintaining suitable bedding and environment, are also key factors in preventing the reoccurrence of bed sores.

Effective treatment of existing bed sores relies on prompt veterinary intervention, proper wound care, and proactive prevention measures. By following the recommended treatment protocols and taking steps to prevent future bed sores, horse owners can ensure the overall health and well-being of their equine companions.

Table: Veterinary Treatment Options for Bed Sores

Treatment Method Description
Topical dressings Application of specialized wound dressings to promote healing and prevent infection.
Bandaging Using thick quilts and bandages to provide support and protection during the healing process.
Medication Administration of prescribed medications, such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, to aid the healing process.
Protective boots or wraps Use of cushioned boots or wraps to prevent future bed sores and provide added support for the horse’s legs.

Treating and Protecting Open Sores: Tips for Horse Owners

treating open sores on horses

When it comes to treating open sores on horses, proper care and protection are vital to prevent infection and promote healing. Working closely with a veterinarian is crucial to develop a treatment plan tailored to your horse’s specific needs. Here are some important tips for horse owners to consider:

1. Follow Veterinarian-Recommended Treatment

It’s important to follow the treatment plan recommended by your veterinarian. This may involve using specific ointments or band-aids to protect the wounds during certain periods. Your veterinarian will provide guidance on when to apply these treatments and when it is safe to allow the wounds to remain uncovered.

2. Prevent Splitting of Scabs

Scabs can form on open sores as part of the healing process. It’s crucial to prevent these scabs from splitting, as this can lead to further complications and delay the healing process. Avoid picking at or forcefully removing scabs and monitor the horse closely to prevent any accidental damage.

3. Fly Protection

Flies can aggravate open wounds and increase the risk of infection. Utilize fly protection measures such as fly masks, fly sheets, and fly repellents to keep flies away from your horse’s wounds. This will help minimize discomfort and reduce the likelihood of further complications.

4. Gentle Wound Cleaning

Regularly clean the open sores with appropriate cleansers recommended by your veterinarian, such as iodine or chlorhexidine solutions. Gently remove any debris or dirt from the wounds using clean, sterile materials. Avoid using harsh or abrasive substances that can further irritate the wounds.

By following these tips and working closely with your veterinarian, you can effectively treat and protect open sores on your horse. Remember to monitor the wounds regularly, stay vigilant for any signs of infection, and seek veterinary advice promptly if any concerns arise.

Additional Tips for Preventing and Managing Bed Sores

In addition to the steps mentioned earlier, here are some additional tips to help prevent and manage bed sores in horses:

Regular Body Monitoring

Regularly monitor your horse’s body for any changes, such as patches of broken hair or redness. These can be early signs of bed sores. By catching them early, you can take prompt action to prevent further complications.

Assessing Bedding

Take a look at your horse’s bedding and consider making changes if needed. Adding soft, clean topsoil or using outdoor bedding options like cedar shreds or pine pellets can provide extra cushioning and reduce the risk of bed sores.

Protective Wraps and Boots

Using protective wraps or boots can offer additional protection to your horse’s vulnerable areas. Consider using hock boots for hock sores or standing wraps for fetlock sores. These can help minimize the pressure on those areas and reduce the risk of bed sores.

Remember, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your specific horse’s needs. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on their expertise and knowledge of your horse’s health and condition.

Tip Description
Regular Body Monitoring Regularly check for any changes on your horse’s body, such as patches of broken hair or redness, which can indicate the early stages of bed sores.
Assessing Bedding Evaluate your horse’s bedding and consider adding soft, clean topsoil or using outdoor bedding options like cedar shreds or pine pellets to provide extra cushioning and reduce the risk of bed sores.
Protective Wraps and Boots Offer additional protection to your horse’s vulnerable areas by using protective wraps or boots, such as hock boots for hock sores or standing wraps for fetlock sores.


In conclusion, preventing bed sores in horses requires proactive measures and attentive horse care. By providing a suitable environment with soft bedding or grass, owners can significantly reduce the risk of bed sores. Additionally, the use of protective boots or wraps can offer extra cushioning and protection for the horse’s joints.

However, if bed sores do occur, it is crucial to seek veterinary advice and treatment. Veterinary intervention is necessary to ensure proper healing and prevent further complications. Regular monitoring of the horse’s body for any changes and prompt action are essential to maintain horse health.

Remember, proactive bed sore prevention, prompt treatment, and appropriate wound care are key factors in maintaining the overall well-being of horses. By implementing these bed sore prevention tips and following proper horse wound care practices, owners can ensure their horses stay healthy, comfortable, and free from bed sore-related issues.