Case 4: Heel Bulb Laceration

Jojo is a 12-year-old warmblood mare. She was first seen by North Florida Equine about a week after her injury occurred. Jojo’s owner at the time of the injury was unable or unwilling to care for her injury; fortunately she was then taken in by a soft-hearted North Florida Equine client. Her left front heel bulb was in bad condition, as you can see in the picture below.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - heel_bulb_1

The wound was cleaned and debrided and Jojo was started on antibiotics.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - heel_bulb_2

The wound was healing – but excessive granulation tissue (also known as “proud flesh”) was beginning to form. This is a common problem with injuries of the lower leg in horses. It was decided that restricting movement of the area would allow the quickest healing with least scarring.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - heel_bulb_3

Dr. Tanhauser made the decision to apply a foot cast to better stabilize the wound and allow it to heal.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - foot_cast_1

At the cast change three weeks later the wound had made substantial progress.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - heel_bulb_4

Dr. Tanhauser reapplied the cast to restrict motion of the foot for another few weeks.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - foot_cast_2

Jojo awaiting her treatment.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - JoJo and vet truck

After two cast applications the wound was healing well. From here the wound was managed under a bandage.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - heel_bulb_5

Today, five months later, you have to take a close look at Jojo’s foot to even see the scar.

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - Jojo_Aug

North Florida Equine Veterinary Service Gainesville Newberry Ocala Florida - Jojo_aug_close

Casts aren’t just for broken bones! In this case they served to immobilize the area, allowing for a faster healing time and a decreased occurrence of proud flesh. The money, time, and stress saved on repeated bandage changes was also a nice benefit!

Our kudos and thanks go to Elizabeth Deloach who gave her time, money and love to nurse this horse back to soundness. When she was healed, Jojo was placed in a good home and is being ridden regularly by the owner’s daughter.