How to Care for a Horse That Split His Lip

Written by leigh nichol
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How to Care for a Horse That Split His Lip
Veterinarians should always be called if you notice your horse's lip is split. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Any type of mouth injuries to a horse are hard to treat. One sore, one cut, seems to multiply to many if allowed. A split lip is even more serious, and it should be treated as an emergency. Horses use their lips like we use our fingers. They feel things, root around to forage, and reach out to grab things with their lips. After a horse splits their lip, the challenge is to keep your horse from using the lips very much, and allowing the cut to heal.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Veterinarian
  • Antibiotics
  • Tetanus shot
  • Clean water
  • Clean gauze
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Grain that softens, like pellets or beet pulp
  • Roll of Elastikon
  • Pen and paper

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  1. 1

    Call your veterinarian immediately. Tell your vet that you have an emergency and would like him to come out as soon as he possibly can. It does not matter how old the laceration may be, your veterinarian still needs to look at the lip, update your horse's tetanus shot, prescribe antibiotics, and give you the best advice on how to handle your horse's injury.

  2. 2

    Put your horse in a contained area. The best place to work on them is in cross-ties, but if cross-ties are not an option, then put your horse in a stall.

  3. 3

    Collect clean water in a bucket, preferably warm water. Have someone help you, and gently try to wash the gash on your horse's lip using the clean gauze dipped in the warm water. See how clean you can get the cut, and try to estimate the severity of the cut. Refrain from putting anything topical on the lip until your veterinarian instructs you to.

  4. 4

    Tell the veterinarian everything you have done to your horse's lip. If you were able to tell how deep the split went, tell your veterinarian that as well. She will then assess the information you gave her, and come up with a plan. Be sure to take extensive notes on the care your veterinarian instructs.

  5. 5

    Ask your veterinarian what type of food to feed your horse, if you should turn your horse out, how often and when to give antibiotics, if you need to administer pain medication, and when should he come back to check up on the horse. Immediately assess the food, water and living situation of your horse after your veterinarian has answered these questions.

  6. 6

    Care for your horse's wound meticulously on a daily basis. Follow your veterinarian's instructions exactly. If they do not have a preference about feed, a softer feed is usually recommended. It is also recommended to shake hay out to loosen it up and place it in a corner on the ground.

  7. 7

    Clean the wound at least twice a day and use petroleum jelly on the stitches to keep things from getting into the wound. If you are having a hard time keeping the wound clean, ask your veterinarian about putting Elastikon over the split during the day when your horse is most active to shield the cut. Then remove the Elastikon at night.

  8. 8

    Care for your horse's split lip diligently and it should heal within 10 days to two weeks. Depending on where your horse split its lip will determine how long or difficult it will be to heal.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not do anything medical to your horse without consulting a veterinarian first.

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