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How to apply a horse tail bandage

How to apply a horse tail bandage Martha Terry 15 March, 2022 00:00

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Credit: Peter Nixon

All horse owners should know how to put on a tail bandage correctly. The tail bandage has traditionally been used to protect the tail and dock while in transit and to help keep a pulled tail looking smart. However, there are also tail guards and other protectors now available.

Products such as Velcro-fastened neoprene tailguards are easy to apply, easy to remove and easy to wash making them preferable to many horse owners, while the “old school” remains faithful to the traditional elasticated bandage.

Elasticated tail bandages need to be carefully applied to ensure they remain in place, and bandaging is a skill that is only acquired through plenty of practice.

A tail bandage which is too loose will fall off and could get tangled in the horse’s legs, while an over-tight bandage could cause permanent damage to the tail. Tail bandages should not be left on for long periods, no longer than three hours.

Repeated use of an over-tight bandage may cause white hairs to appear in a dark coloured tail, damage to the underside of the dock, or in extreme cases, cause the tail hair to fall out.

An over-tight bandage can also cause an extreme “colic-like” reaction from the horse or pony, especially from those who have not worn a tail bandage before. Leaping around, rolling, sweating and bucking can all be caused by an incorrectly applied tail bandage. Remove the tail bandage and normality will be restored.

The old adage of “if in doubt, go without” is sound advice – if you are not proficient at doing a tail bandage, keep practising under a knowledgable eye until you have perfected the skill. A slightly rubbed tail can normally be brushed down at a show/hunt etc with a little water, although horses which really “sit back” and damage their tail when being travelled may need additional protection.

How to put on a tail bandage

  • Make sure the horse is relaxed and calm – give him a haynet so that he is distracted
  • Brush the horse’s tail and then dampen it with a sponge to help the tail bandage stick
  • Using an elasticated tail bandage, hold it with the roll on top and 3–4in of bandage rolling out below as this helps with the tension
  • Gently lift up the horse’s tail and put it over your shoulder while you secure the bandage around the top of the tail. Start with the end of the bandage lying at the top of the dock, wrap the bandage round once, and then tuck the little end into the second wrap
  • Once that is secure, quickly but carefully continue wrapping the tail by passing the bandage from hand to hand round the dock, covering about half a width of wrap each time. Keep the tension consistent throughout the length of the tail
  • Stop at the end of the dock, then start to work back up, aiming to finish about a third of the way up from the bottom of the dock.
  • Do the tapes up at the same tension as you have been wrapping otherwise you will cause a pressure point. The tapes should be done up at the side of the tail, so that the horse does not rub the tie loose
  • You should be able to fit a finger easily inside the bandage
  • To remove the bandage, undo the tapes and gently pull the bandage off from the top in one movement
  • Roll the bandage up properly afterwards: fold the tapes neatly at the top of the bandage and then turn the bandage over the tapes and start rolling inwards. You then want to increase the tension so stretch the bandage as you roll, and it will be easier to put on next time you want to put it on the tail.

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How to apply a horse tail bandage

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How to help keep your horse happy and healthy while in transit *H&H Plus*

How to apply a horse tail bandageCredit: Future owns

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Rules to follow when fitting a tail bandage:

  1. Equal pressure must be applied to the entire bandage.
  2. A tail bandage must not be left on for longer than three hours.
  3. The bandage must be clean and in good condition. Old or dirty equipment can cause rubs, sores, and even restrict the circulation to the tail.
  4. To prevent the bandage shrinking around the dock, it must be dry before applying it to the tail.
  5. The strings, or tapes, must be fastened at the same tension as the bandage.
  6. Always re-roll the bandage up tightly.

Important: Before leaving a tail bandage on for any length of time, your technique must be correct. Fitting it incorrectly could cause extreme damage to the horse’s dock.

Step 1

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Before applying a tail bandage always check the horse is comfortable with the procedure before beginning. This can be done by lifting the tail up and down. If there is a possibility they could kick out, place a small bale of straw between you and the equine’s hind legs.

Stand directly behind the horse, and dampen down the top of the tail with water. This will provide grip for applying the tail bandage.

Step 2

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Lift up the horse’s tail (if they clamp it down, stroke their hindquarters, whilst gently lifting the dock up and down until they relax).

Some people find it helpful to place the tail over their shoulder, especially whilst learning how to put the tail bandage on.

Step 3

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Un-roll a small section of bandage, slide it upwards on the under side of the tail until you reach the top.

Step 4

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Begin wrapping the bandage around the tail at the correct tension.

If the first wrap doesn’t quite cover the very top of the tail, add another wrap in an upward direction to cover that area.

Step 5

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Wrap the bandage downwards overlapping half of the previously wrapped part of the bandage (there will be an indentation on the bandage to follow).

Step 6

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Continue bandaging in a downward motion, at exactly the same tension. Stop bandaging just above the end of the dock.

Step 7

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Once you reach just above the end of the dock area, make an upside down ‘V’ at the bottom of the bandage.

Begin wrapping the bandage upwards, maintaining the same tension.

Step 8

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Wrap the bandage up the tail, maintaining the correct tension.

Step 9

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Once you reach the end of the bandage, unravel the tapes or prepare the Velcro to be fastened.

Step 10

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Fasten the Velcro securely at exactly the same tension as the bandage.

If the bandage has tape fastenings they must be tied, at the side of the dock, in a bow at the same tension as the bandage. This prevents the bow rubbing against the horse’s tail, especially whilst being travelled.

Step 11

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Put your hand underneath the middle of the dock and slightly bend it. This puts the tail back to its natural shape.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Bandaging is a skill acquired with practice. It has a variety of purposes — warmth, support, protection and immobilisation. Whatever the specific use of the bandage, it must be correctly applied to give firm, even pressure. If a bandage is too tight, it can restrict the circulation and lead to the formation of pressure sores or serious injury such as tendon damage. If a bandage is too loose, it will not serve its purpose and can become a hazard to the horse.

Bandaging the limb

Essentially, any bandage should have three layers.

On the inside is a non-stick clean dressing, which is attached to the wound. If there is no wound and you are applying a protective or support bandage, this layer is unnecessary.

The middle is the crucial padding that protects any injury, absorbs discharge, controls swelling and helps prevent bandage rubs. If this is skimped on or forgotten, the horse will suffer.

The third is the outer wrapping, which holds the bandage in place and provides extra support.

When a bandage is applied to the leg, it is vital that sufficient padding, such as gamgee or cotton wool, is used underneath to distribute the pressure evenly. Before the bandage is applied, any wrinkles in the padding should be smoothed out to avoid creating pressure points.

When the bandage is applied, half its width should be overlapped on each turn, which will also ensure that the pressure is evenly distributed. If ties or Velcro fastenings are used to secure it, they should be fastened at the same pressure as the rest of the bandage, with any knots lying on the outside of the leg, thereby avoiding exerting pressure on the tendons at the front and back of the limb. It is safer to use sticky tape.

It is important that the padding protrudes from the top and the bottom of the bandage, to prevent it rubbing on unprotected skin.

If a bandage is applied too tightly or is uneven, it is possible to cause pressure sores in the underlying skin, which will result in unsightly white hair growing on the horse’s leg when it has healed. In more severe cases, it is possible to cause a “bandage bow”, where the underlying tendons are damaged due to the excessive pressure.

If for any reason a horse is not bearing full weight on the affected leg, the opposite leg, or, if necessary, all three limbs, should have support bandages applied.

Checking bandages

Bandages should be checked twice daily to ensure they are neither too tight nor too loose. You should just be able to insert two fingers between the top of the bandage and the skin. If this is not possible, the bandage may be too tight. However, if it is easy to insert two fingers, with the bandage sagging away from the fingers, it may be too loose and liable to slip.

Wounds

When bandaging a wound, the same basic principles must be followed, although it is also necessary to consider the covering to be applied to the wound. A non-adherent dressing should be used so that it does not stick to the wound surface — for example, Melolin or Allevyn.

The dressing will also provide additional padding over the surface of the wound and should be secured in place. An ideal base for this purpose is a thin layer of cotton wool such as Soffban or Orthoban, which cannot be applied too tightly, as it will tear if any tension is used when applying it.

The gamgee or cotton wool padding should be applied over the top of this layer, and secured in place with a conforming cotton bandage. Then the third layer of self-adhesive bandage material, for example, Vetwrap, may be applied to help secure the bandage.

Awkward areas

Although applying a bandage to the lower limb (cannon bone and pastern) can be relatively straightforward, other areas pose more of a challenge. When a bandage is applied to either the hock or the knee, the constant movement in the joint can lead to it loosening and slipping down the leg, which will create pressure points in the skin and structures beneath.

In addition, care must be taken to provide adequate protection for the accessory carpal bone on the forelimb, and the point of the hock in the hindlimb. These are bony prominences with very little soft tissue, and are therefore extremely susceptible to the development of pressure sores.

There are proprietary elasticated zip-up “stockings” available in a range of sizes, designed for use specifically on knees, hocks or fetlocks. All that is required is a non-stick dressing over the wound, secured in place by a thin conforming layer of cotton, before the stocking is applied. In the case of knee and hock wounds, a stable bandage is applied to the lower limb to provide additional support and prevent the stocking from slipping down the leg.

Tubular bandages, such as Tubigrip, can also be used to hold a dressing over awkward areas such as joints. The bandage is secured to the hair above the joint with an adhesive dressing such as Elastoplast. A stable bandage is applied to the lower limb to secure the bottom of the tubular bandage. These should be used with care, as repeated application and removal of adhesive dressings can make the skin sore.

Specialist bandages

While it may not appear to be a specialist type of bandage, a tail bandage needs careful application. It is the only bandage that is applied directly to the skin with no padding layer underneath, and because of this it is vital that it is applied correctly.

A tail bandage is frequently left on for long periods of time, depending on the length of a journey, and, if it is applied too tightly, can restrict the circulation in the dock. This may lead to loss of tail hair and sloughing of skin and in serious cases, where the blood supply is completely occluded, the tail may have to be amputated.

Following abdominal surgery, for example, for colic, a belly band may be applied. This is a large bandage that goes all the way round the horse’s abdomen to provide increased support to the incision and prevent contamination of the incision, for example, from bedding in the stable if the horse lies down.

The belly band can either be a proprietary large elasticated bandage applied over a gamgee pad to protect the incision, or it may be an adhesive bandage wrapped around the abdomen over a gamgee pad. If a belly band is used for any length of time, padding must also be applied over the spine to prevent the development of pressure sores.

Another specialist bandage is the Robert Jones bandage, which offers very firm support and is used for:

  • the stabilisation of certain fractures
  • to support an injured limb
  • to protect the limb following surgery

It can be applied to either the whole limb or just the lower half. A non-stick dressing is placed over the wound and held in place by a layer of orthopaedic padding. A thick layer of cotton wool is then applied, secured and compressed by a conforming cotton bandage. This step is repeated a number of times until a solid, support bandage is achieved. A final, adhesive layer is then applied.

It’s important to know how to bandage your horse’s tail properly to avoid complications.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

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The herringbone tail bandage is often used by professional riders. It has several applications. It can be used to prevent a horse from rubbing its tail hairs off on the crossbar in a float. It will keep the horse’s tail clean in muddy conditions. It will help to keep a plaited tail tidy at a show. And it is often used when mating mares, especially during live covering.

Although effective, the bandage has to be applied correctly. The herringbone pattern prevents excess pressure on the blood vessels in the dock of the tail, but, if attached too tightly, it can lead to damage or even loss of the tail.

To put a tail bandage on properly, follow these steps:

  • Before you begin: Obtain a 4m-long, 50mm-wide crepe bandage. Dampen the tail hairs on the root of the tail to ensure the bandage stays in place. Stand directly behind the horse and put the tail over your shoulder. If you are scared of being kicked, do this over a stable door or in a crushpen.
  • Step 1: Moving left to right, slip approximately 30cm of the bandage under the tail. Ensure that about 10cm is turned up on the left side of the tail and held down above the root of the tail.
  • Step 2: Wrap the bandage once around the root of the tail, then fold the end down onto the bandage. Secure it by wrapping the bandage around the tail again.
  • Step 3: Holding the bandage at an angle, wrap it downwards to the left, loop it under the tail, and angle it up again to the right, so it crosses over the previous bandage by 2cm to 3cm.
  • Step 4: Angle down to the left, under the tail and up to the right, once again overlapping by 2cm to 3cm.
  • Step 5: Repeat until you reach the end of the tailbone.
  • Step 6: Complete with two horizontal wraps, and secure the bandage with Elastoplast if the bandage does not have ties sewn on the end.

Removal
To remove, undo the tapes and pull back slowly and firmly towards the end of the tail. The bandage slips off like a tube, without being unwrapped.

Alternatives
If you are not yet expert enough to do a tail bandage properly, use a Velcro-fastened neoprene tail guard when travelling. This is much less likely to damage the tail. Some horse blankets have a flap covering the tail and this is more comfortable for the horse than a tail guard, provided the weather is not too hot. You can also use Velcro to fasten a tail bag onto the back of a travelling rug.

Don’t overdo it!
Ensure that the bandage does not stay on for longer than two or three hours. If it is very tight, even this may be too long; the main vein and artery can be closed off, resulting in gangrene. The pain is often intense and horses can look as though they
are suffering from colic.

Once the bandage has been removed, the tail will be bruised and swollen. The horse must be treated with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. As the tail heals, pieces of skin, or even the whole tail may fall off. Often the hair does not regrow and the show career of the horse is ended.

They can also be used to help with horses whose legs ‘fill up’ (edema), and to cover the leg after applying a wound dressing, poultice or topical application (cream).

Supergroom Alan Davies talks through how to apply the perfect bandage.

1. Place the starting edge of the wrap at the inside front of the cannon bone and unroll the wrap around the leg, ensuring as you go that the fabric and padding remains smooth, flat and wrinkle-free.

2. Wrap the bandage around the leg once to keep the end in place.

3. Continue to wrap the bandage down the leg in a spiral pattern, overlaying the previous wrap by half.

4. Try to maintain consistent tension on the bandage as you wrap and keep checking that the layers underneath are smooth and flat.

5. End the bandage at the outside front of the leg just below the knee or hock, leaving an inch of wrap showing above the bandage, and fasten the Velcro. Feel over and around the bandage for any lumps, ensuring it is smooth and flat all over.

6. Insert two fingers under the padding behind the knee to make sure there isn’t any pressure on the joint.

TOP TIPS

  • Ensure legs are clean and dry to prevent rubbing and sores developing.
  • Apply the correct tension – the bandage should be tight enough to stay in place but not so tight as to restrict blood flow.
  • Wrap bandages from front to back, outside to inside (counter-clockwise on left legs, clockwise on right). This ensures tension from the bandage is applied to the front of the leg, rather than the delicate tendons at the back of the leg.
  • Always wrap legs in pairs, such as both front legs or both hindlegs.

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Isn’t it just. And 100% preventable, some cretin was totally responsible for this. I don’t want to think about how painful that must have been, poor horse.

Fairynuff posted it in Stable Yard but it wasn’t getting looked at, so I grabbed it and stuck it in here and CR, the more people who see this and spread the word the better imho.

I’ve seen an Advanced eventer’s career ended by over-tight stable bandaging too, I happened to be on the yard in the morning when the owner/rider took the bandages off and burst into tears when she saw the state of the horse’s legs.

Bandaging should come with a health warning.

Riverboy

Well-Known Member

OMG that is truely horrific – I mean I knew you should be careful about not doing them too tight, but I never realised it could be that bad.

How tight must they have been done? Makes me worry about bandaging at all now!

hellspells

Well-Known Member

Kerilli yes it should come with a health warning.

I also think that things like Vet rap shouldn’t be sold to the general public unless their vet is happy the know how to apply it properly, its constricting properties are terrifying.

I can’t watch other people bandage my horses, and will take them off and re do them if someone has tried to ‘help’ me by doing it (not saying I am perfect just that I know how I want them done and I know the tension I have applied).

Jane_Lou

Well-Known Member

doratheexplorer

Well-Known Member

rosie fronfelen

Well-Known Member

skewbald_again

Well-Known Member

This is why boots and tailguards etc are so brilliant – not trying to be snotty (OK, then, I am) but unless you have actually learned to bandage (and I would suggest that a wee course does not equate to learning to bandage. Ideally, about six months working for a European Dressage trainer with an incandescent temper and no clue about the human rights act) then please, for the sake of the horse, use the lovely velcro alternatives now available.

Bandaging done properly is indeed very big and very clever. This, clearly, is neither.

Well-Known Member

fruity

Well-Known Member

comet&joe

Well-Known Member

loopyloop

Well-Known Member

I know somebody who did this, horse was very lucky to keep her tail! If you looked underneath you could see the insides of her tail and dock!

It had been left on all night and the only reason she had it on was because she had some hair sticking up!!

quirky

Well-Known Member

3Beasties

Well-Known Member

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

Well-Known Member

I remember when I was in Pony Club there was a girl who lost her pony coz she bandaged its tail, not realising it was too tight, and the circulation to the tail was cut off and the pony got septecemia (sorry don’t know how to spell it) and died, it was awful.

It wasn’t deliberate, the pony had the best of care in fact the girls father was an MFH, but she just put the tailbandage on and didn’t realise it was so tight.

xena_wales

Well-Known Member

Dubsie

Well-Known Member

Caz89

Well-Known Member

Seahorse

Well-Known Member

Seahorse

Well-Known Member

Isn’t it just. And 100% preventable, some cretin was totally responsible for this. I don’t want to think about how painful that must have been, poor horse.

Fairynuff posted it in Stable Yard but it wasn’t getting looked at, so I grabbed it and stuck it in here and CR, the more people who see this and spread the word the better imho.

I’ve seen an Advanced eventer’s career ended by over-tight stable bandaging too, I happened to be on the yard in the morning when the owner/rider took the bandages off and burst into tears when she saw the state of the horse’s legs.

Bandaging should come with a health warning.

Jesstickle

Well-Known Member

How would any one ever put on a poultice though? I don’t want to be phoning the vets over an abcess!

I don’t bandage because I don’t think I’m good enough. It’s velcro all the way for me.

How long would it have to be on for to do damage like that though?

Rowreach

Well-Known Member

I have to teach people to bandage at college and for exams, and I always tell them that I NEVER use tail bandages and would never let anyone else bandage my horses’ legs either. If you really must use a tail bandage, never wet the bandage or the tail, and do not leave it on longer than an hour, absolute maximum. Old fashioned tail bandages were not stretchy. Nowadays there are so many tail wraps and guards available, why risk your horse’s tail by bandaging it?

I grilled my latest pc exam candidates on tail bandaging before their exam, and the flipping examiner told them their tail bandages weren’t tight enough

Before fitting exercise bandages, the horse’s legs must be clean and dry. Whilst putting the bandage on, always crouch down by the side of the leg, never sit or kneel.

Step 1

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Tie the horse up.

Crouch down on the outside of the horse’s leg and position the padding at the correct height. It should be fitted slightly above the bottom of the knee or hock, and finish at the base of the fetlock.

Step 2

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Wrap the padding securely around the limb, ensuring the whole area that needs bandaging is covered.

Ensure the overlap seam is fitted on the outside of the leg, faces backwards, and sits in the hollow of the leg between the bone and the flexor tendons.

The padding should be wrapped around the leg as tightly as possible.

Step 3

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Keeping the under padding secure, place the bandage roll against it just below the knee or hock.

The bandage should be unrolled following the direction of the padding joint, towards the back of the leg.

Make sure the padding does not twist around the leg at this point.

Step 4

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Keeping an even pressure, wrap the bandage around the leg over the previous part of the bandage. This will secure the bandage.

Step 5

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Begin to unroll the bandage, working downwards in the same direction as the padding so the bandage overlaps the previous lap by half the width. Ensure you maintain an even pressure.

To maintain a firm tension on the bandage, only apply pressure on the front of the leg against the cannon bone. The reason being is the flexor tendons at the back of the leg are not stabilised by bone so applying excess pressure on them may cause damage.

Step 6

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Maintaining the tension, continue bandaging downwards until you reach the middle of the fetlock. The padding may need to be re-adjusted at this point to ensure the joint remains on the outside of the leg.

Step 7

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Keeping the same pressure, begin to bandage back up the leg. Once you reach just below the knee or hock, bandage back down the leg again until you reach the end of the bandage.

Step 8

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Once you reach the end of the bandage secure it with either the tapes or velcro, at exactly the same tension the bandage is fitted so it does not interfere with the circulation. The fastenings should be fitted on the outside of the leg, and never around a joint.

Velcro fastening: Fasten the velcro together.

Tie strings: Ensure there are no twists in the strings, wrap the ties flat around the bandage and secure with a bow. Tuck the ends in so that they cannot undo.

Step 9

How to apply a horse tail bandage

If tie fastenings are used, for extra security pull the upper part of the bandage over the ties.

Step 10

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Test the tension of the bandage: push 1 finger down the top of the bandage between the padding and leg. You should be able to snugly get one finger down it.

If the bandage is fitted too loose the gap will be too wide between the leg and padding. This will cause the bandage to slip which could lead to pressure points, scaring or bruising. A loose bandage will also not offer support to the leg and could be dangerous as it could cause the horse to trip or fall

If the bandage is fitted too tightly you will struggle to get one finger down between the bandage and leg. This can lead to pressure points, scaring or bruising. It can also interfere with the circulation, or cause damage to the tendons and ligaments.

There are any number of reasons to bandage a horse’s leg. Bandaging can provide both protection and support for the horse while working, traveling, resting, or recovering from injury. Regardless of the reason a bandage is being applied, it is essential that the proper technique be used. Applied incorrectly, bandages will fail to perform correctly, which may cause discomfort and restrict blood flow as well as damage tendons and other tissues. A bandage that slips so that it bunches and creates a pressure point on the back of the tendon can cause tendon damage and create a “bandage bow.” A bandage bow can also be caused by a bandage that is too tight.

It is often better to leave a horse’s leg unwrapped than to bandage it incorrectly. Fortunately, there is nothing difficult about bandaging a horse’s leg. It generally just takes time and practice.

In most cases, bandages are applied too loosely rather than too tightly. A good rule for bandage tightness is to thump the bandage. A properly applied leg bandage, if you flick it hard with your finger, should resonate a sound similar to that obtained when thumping a ripe melon. The sound of the thump can differ depending on the material used, but the general idea is that the bandage should be uniformly tight.

Follow these basic guidelines from the American Association of Equine Practitioners when bandaging a horse’s leg:

1. Start with clean, dry legs and bandages. If there is a wound, make sure it has been cleaned, rinsed, and dressed according to your veterinarian’s recommendations. 2. Use a thickness of an inch or more of soft, clean padding to protect the leg beneath the bandage. Apply padding so it lies flat and wrinkle-free against the skin. 3. Start the wrap on the inside of the cannon bone above the fetlock joint. Do not begin or end over a joint, as movement will tend to loosen the bandage and cause it to unwrap. 4. Wrap the leg from front to back, outside to inside (counterclockwise on left legs, clockwise on right legs). 5. Wrap in a spiral pattern, working down the leg and up again, overlapping the preceding layer by 50 percent. 6. Use smooth, uniform pressure on the support bandage to compress the padding. Make sure no lumps or ridges form beneath the bandage. 7. Do not to wrap the legs too tightly, creating pressure points. 8. Avoid applying bandages too loosely. If loose bandages slip, they will not provide proper support and may endanger the horse. 9. Leg padding and bandages should extend below the coronet band of the hoof to protect that area (this is especially important when trailering). 10. Extend the bandages to within one-half inch of the padding at the top and bottom. If there is a potential problem with bedding or debris getting into the bandage, seal the openings with a loose wrap of flexible adhesive bandage.

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How to apply a horse tail bandage

How to apply a horse tail bandage

How to apply a horse tail bandage

How to apply a horse tail bandage

How to apply a horse tail bandage

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Why would you use a tail bandage?

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Place the bandage under the tail, with a few inches of unrolled bandage out at an angle at the top of the tail and the remainder of the rolled bandage in your right hand.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

The piece of bandage that was left out at an angle at the top of the tail should now be folded down. The remainder of the rolded bandage should now be wrapped around to secure the top of the bandage.

Continue bandaging down the tail until you reach the end of the dock, making sure your pressure is even throughout but not too tight.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

When you reach the end of the dock tie the bandage firmly, ensuring the fastener is no tighter than the bandage itself. Alway tie the bandage to the side of the tail as opposed to down the centre to prevent injury. The tape should lie flat as opposed to a knot on the side of the tail to prevent further injury.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Gently bend the tail into its natural position using your arm to do so. Ensure you are standing to the side of your horse to prevent being kicked and remember safety is paramount at all times.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Fold the last role of the bandage over to hide the tapes and give a neat, tidy finish.

A tail bandage should never be left on for more than 4 hours at a time as if it is left on for longer than this time frame it can damage the tail by impairing the blood supply to the dock. If travelling for more than four hours opt to use a tail guard on your horse to prevent damaging the tail.

Always ask an expereinced person for help if you are unsure when applying a tail bandage as if it is incorrectly applied it can have damaging effects on your horse and his tail!

Vet wrap is a self-adhering bandage which means that it sticks to itself but not other surfaces. Vet wrap is flexible and stretchy. Its elastic quality is durable and provides firm support as well as enough pressure to stop bleeding. When it is properly applied with padding such as gauze pads, it will not cut off circulation.

Since vet wrap sticks to itself, it is often used as a wrap on limbs. It can be used on humans but is commonly used on the legs of horses and livestock because it will not stick to the animal’s hair. This also means that vet wrap is easily removed with or without the use of scissors.

What Are the Types of Horse Wraps?

There are several types of bandages and wraps for horses and each has its own purpose for the horse.

Vet wrap – the purpose of vet wrap is to hold gauze pads and medication in place on the horse’s legs and hooves. Vet wrap is not intended to remain on the horse for a long time without being changed or redressed.

Polo wraps – another type of bandage usually made of fleece and quite stretchy. Polo wraps are intended for protection during riding, ground work, and turn out. Polo wraps are often used on performance horses that are exhibited in a high-performance sport such as reining, dressage, and cutting because they are less likely to slip during an intricate movement than boots. They do not necessarily provide support but they provide protection to the bones, tendons, and ligaments.

Standing wrap – protects the horse’s legs, tendons, and ligaments while the horse is in the stall. It can be used to promote circulation, to keep a skin irritation or a wound clean, and to apply topical medication. Standing wraps can also be used dry which means that there is not a substance, such as liniment or medication, underneath them on the leg. Standing wraps are made of cotton or quilted fabric with a Velcro closure bandage to hold it in place after it is applied to the horse’s lower leg.

Note: none of these bandages should be on the horse for a long time without being periodically taken off to check for circulation problems and breakdown of the skin. Consult your veterinarian for specifics.

If you take care of horses, it is a good idea to have vet wrap on hand for emergencies and wound care. A vet can come to your barn and apply the vet wrap but it is easy enough to use for horse owners to do it themselves. If you frequently show your horse, you will often find vet wrap sold in tack and equipment stores. Some agricultural and feed stores may carry it as well.

How Is Horse Vet Wrap Used?

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Vet wrap has numerous uses around the stable and beyond your horse. It can be used for leg bandage wrap, organization, grips and lots more. Some are:

  1. Bandage wrapping for wounds.
  2. Protect hooves when being treated with a poultice or when a shoe is off.
  3. Wrap a pregnant mare’s tail prior to foaling so it doesn’t get in the way of the birthing process.
  4. Hold IV’s in place on the horse’s neck.
  5. Temporary tourniquet (should not be left on for a long period of time).
  6. Supportive leg wraps or apply to your current leg wraps when the Velcro falls off.
  7. Fix your manure rake handle or any other wooden handled tool to avoid splinters.
  8. Apply to reins so novice riders will know where to hold their hands.
  9. Use it on tack such as reins, bridles, and tail sets to provide a stronger hold on buckles, snaps, and hooks as well as protect the horse from rubbing.
  10. Wrap your horses tail up to help it grow long, strong, and thick.
  11. Repair broken brushes and combs and other grooming tools.
  12. Stick over tops of nail heads or other sharp objects in stalls, trailers or pastures.
  13. Cover the fraying end of a lead rope or cover the chain on a lead shank to keep it from tearing up your hands.
  14. Cover a hackamore noseband or on a side pull to protect your horse’s sensitive skin.
  15. Place over buckles, straps etc. to help keep your horse from removing sheets and blankets.
  16. Covering objects like electrical cords so if your horse chews on it, it reduces the risk of electrical shock.
  17. Cover the metal handle on water buckets during the winter to help keep your hands warm and prevent slippage.
  18. Keep your jeans folded at your ankle so your chaps will fit.
  19. To differentiate your tack from others.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

What Size Vet Wrap Works for Horses?

Sizes range from 1 to 6 inches in width. Most people use a 4-inch vet wrap for horses. It works well for large animals or large injury support. Also, horses get wrapped a lot more often than livestock.

Tear vs. Non-tear Vet Wrap

Once you wrap a leg, how do you sever the wrap from the roll? There are two ways: tear it or cut with scissors. Some types of vet wrap bandages like WildCow Vet Wrap can be torn off the roll by hand, so you don’t have to use scissors to cut it. Other vet wrap bandages do not easily tear from the roll and have to be cut.

The numerous uses for vet wrap include controlled compression, immobilizing injuries and securing equipment and devices to animals. The option of the bandage being easily torn is sometimes better for these uses than the other option. Some horses can be flighty and the risk for injury to the horse and yourself will increase when you are working with a sharp pair of scissors around a nervous horse.

Vet Wrap Brands

Vet wrap is the generic name for a vast array of products that all have a similar function and design. Vetrap is the name of the bandage tape made by 3M. Many horse owners are satisfied with Vetrap and believe that it is more flexible and sticky than other brands such as Andover CoFlex or PowerFlex.

Other horse owners don’t recognize a difference among brands if the bandage tape has the same elastic qualities. Generic wraps are less expensive in comparison to 3M Vetrap and some horse owners simply choose generic vet wrap due to the price difference and the availability.

Do you have a preferred brand or unique ways you use vet wrap for your horse?

There may be a number of occasions when you will need to bandage your horse’s legs. Bandaging can be used for protection, support and injury. Correct leg bandaging is essential – applied incorrectly, bandages may cause discomfort, restrict blood flow and even cause injury. Learning the correct bandaging techniques can save your horse from potential damage.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Protection and support – when do I need to use bandages?

Domestic horses have to deal with the unbalancing effects of a rider and perform movements, e.g. circles, lateral work and jumping, which increase the chance of your horse knocking itself. Your horse’s natural movements or conformation defects may also result in it inflicting damage, especially if it is shod. Fitting leg protection is advisable, especially when competing over fences.

What sort of bandages can I use?

Bandages tend to offer better support than any alternatives as they conform well to the leg, they do, however, take practice to put on correctly. Types of bandages include:

  • Exercise bandages: these require a layer of padding underneath them, e.g. gamgee, foam or pads. The bandages are made from a stretchy crepe-like material for support and protection of the leg from the fetlock up to the knee. Care must be taken not to apply these too tightly.
  • Stable bandages: these are slightly wider than exercise bandages and are usually made of thicker wool-type material. They have some give but are not stretchy like the exercise bandages. They are also designed to support and protect the leg from the coronet up to the knee or hock.
  • Tail bandages: these are made from similar material to exercise bandages. Tail bandages are mainly used to protect the tail while travelling. They can also be used to smooth the top of the tail before a show.

How do I apply a bandage?

  • Make sure the legs and bandages are clean and dry. If there is a wound, make sure it has been cleaned, rinsed and dressed according to your vet’s recommendations.
  • Always stand to the side of the leg, facing the hindquarters, when applying or removing bandages or boots.
  • Apply an inch or more of soft, clean padding so it lies flat and wrinkle-free against the skin, this will protect the leg beneath the bandage.
  • Start the bandage at the inside of the cannon bone, above the fetlock joint. Do not begin or end bandaging over a joint, movement may loosen the bandage and cause it to come undone.
  • The bandage should be applied in a spiral pattern, working down the leg, from front to back (counterclockwise on left legs, clockwise on right legs), and up again, overlapping the each layer by approximately 50%.
  • Half an inch of the padding should remain visible at the top and bottom. If there is a potential problem with bedding or debris getting into the bandage, seal the openings with a loose wrap of flexible adhesive bandage.
  • Use smooth, even pressure on the bandage to compress the padding. Make sure no lumps or bumps form beneath the bandage.
  • Be careful not to bandage the legs too tightly, creating pressure points and eventual damage.
  • Avoid applying bandages too loosely, they will not provide the support needed and may become a source of danger/injury, especially when travelling.
  • Leg padding and bandages should extend to below the coronet band of the hoof for protection, especially when travelling.

Are there any alternatives?

For daily exercise, boots are easier to fit and keep clean. Boots can be made from various materials, e.g. felt, leather, neoprene and plastic. Some boots have a shock-absorbing lining of either rubber or sheepskin. They also have various fastenings, e.g. buckle, hook and eye, Velcro. The back pair of boots will be slightly longer, with 4 or 5 straps compared to 2 or 3 on the front pair – all the straps should secure backwards and the pressure should be even. It is, however, very important that the right size boot is fitted to the front legs so they do not interfere with the knee joint. Types include:

  • Brushing boot: this is the most commonly used boot which protects the lower leg from just below the knee to above the fetlock. Some brushing boots have built-in tendon guards.
  • Fetlock boot: this is a shorter boot which protects the fetlock joint from brushing injuries.
  • Hock boot: this is used when travelling and only protects the hock joint.
  • Knee boot: used when travelling and while being ridden, the knees are protected in the event of a fall.
  • Over-reach boot: this protects the heels of the front feet from being trodden on by the back feet.
  • Tendon boot: for use when jumping or galloping. The boot protects the tendons from being cut by the hind feet.
  • Travelling boot: this offers padded protection from above the knee to below the coronet on the front legs and from above the hock to below the coronet on the back legs. Shorter versions are also available, but all travelling boots should come below the coronet to protect against over-reaching.

Wounds – when do I need to use bandages?

The reasons for placing a pad and bandage over a wound are to provide protection, ensuring a clean environment on the wound and to provide general support to tissues surrounding the wound. Bandaging of lower leg wounds generally reduces the formation of granulation tissue or proud flesh.

When a wound is in a high-motion area, e.g. over a joint, an appropriate pad and bandage will create some degree of immobility that can increase the chance of a primary repair being successful. These bandages can be difficult to apply, especially to the hind leg and they tend to slip with leg motion. If in doubt, call your vet.

What sort of bandages can I use?

Suitable bandages for first aid are usually a plaster bandage with an adhesive surface or a cotton crepe bandage. The wound should be covered in gauze before bandaging. Do not use cotton wool – small fibres will collect in the wound and act as a foreign body, therefore slowing down the healing process. If in doubt, call your vet.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Injuries are very common among animals. Be it farm animals or pets at home, all of them are prone to one or the other form of injuries. In this post you will know how to provide first aid or bandage the wounds formed as a result of injuries.

  • To protect wounds from the environment,
  • To protect the environment from wounds, and
  • To discourage animals from licking or irritating a wound.

It is very essential to take care of the bandage as it should be too loose or too tight to hinder the flow of blood.

Cleaning the wound

  • Clean the wound with water or with antiseptic solution.
  • 5 to 7 per cent antiseptic solution can be used for cleaning or washing the wound.
  • In case of large animals water jets can be used for cleaning the extensive wounds but in case of small animals and pets, washing with mild antiseptic solution like diluted Dettol or Savlon (do not use dettol and other phenols in case of cats as they are toxic to cats) solution is helpful.

Material required for bandaging

  • Betadine ointment or solution or any other Povidone Iodine solution
  • Gauze wrap
  • Cotton wrap/bandage
  • Adhesive tape

The bandage consists of three layers and should be applied keeping in mind the three layers from inner to outer and explained as

It is the layer which is directly in contact with the wound. It is applied by dipping the gauze in Betadine solution or by pouring Neosporin powder over the gauze and then applying the gauze over the wound. The contact layer should

  • Be sterile and inert.
  • Stay in close contact with, but not stick to, the wound.
  • Be very absorbent.
  • Be free of particles or fibers that might shed into the wound.
  • Conform to all shapes.
  • Allow drainage to pass to the next layer without becoming wet.
  • Minimize pain.
  • As the name suggest this layer absorbs the exudate which comes out of the wound and therefore keep the wound dry for better healing.
  • This layer is formed by applying cotton over the wound.
  • There is no need to apply antiseptic solution or powder over this layer.
  • It should be tied snugly not tightly as tight bandage hinders the flow of blood.
  • Cotton wrapped in gauze can also be used as absorbent pads and for the formation of absorbent layer.
  • 1 inch cotton wrap can be used for small limbs and tails of pets, 2 inch cotton wraps can be used for medium legs and 3 to 4 inch for large legs of pets and small animals and 6 inch cotton wrap is used for large animals and body.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Applying the absorbent layer

What not to do?

  • The cotton wrap should not be too broad as it is difficult to apply smoothly.
  • Any wrinkles or ridges may cause the bandage to become uncomfortable for the animal.
  • Uneven pressure may cause necrosis (tissue death) of the underlying tissues.

How to apply?

  • Begin with just enough of an absorbent layer to hold the contact layer in place.
  • If the wound is on a leg or the tail, wrap from the toes or the tip of the tail towards the body.
  • If you begin at the top of the leg or the tail, the bandage is more likely to restrict blood flow and cause swelling, which may cause tissue damage.
  • Apply several layers of absorbent material, which will soak up the fluid from the wound and increase the patient’s comfort by cushioning the wound.
  • Make sure the material you use as the absorbent layer is the proper width, and wrap from the toes or tail tip up towards the body.
  • Gauze wrap can be applied next to hold the cotton wrap in place and to add extra support. This step can be skipped for small wounds or for temporary bandages.
  • Finally, apply the outer (third) layer, usually made up of porous adhesive tape.
  • Wrapped from the toes up towards the body, this layer should also be smooth and snug.
  • The tape should be in contact with the skin (hair) at the bandage margins, anchoring the bandage so it will not slip.
    The outer layer of a bandage should be applied smoothly and snugly, but not tight enough to cut off blood circulation.
  • It is very important to follow the rule of half i.e. the next wrap of the bandage should overlap the half of the first wrap of bandage for better stability of the bandage.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Applying the outer layer

  • Bandages should be checked frequently for any signs of swelling, skin discoloration or coolness, odor, or saturation of the bandage material.
  • The bandage should be changed whenever any of the above are noticed or any time it appears to be uncomfortable for the animal.
  • Wounds that are draining heavily may require bandage changes every 1 or 2 hours.
  • Bandages over wounds with little or no drainage should be changed every 24 hours ideally in case of pets and horses. However in case of cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat, bandage can be changed every alternate day.
  • This article is just for the information of the animal owners for bandaging the small open wounds in case of emergency.
  • It is not advisable to treat animals without the prior advice and consultation of the veterinarian.
  • In case of closed wounds, immediately seek veterinarian’s advice.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

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Continuing my series on bandaging, I want to share a few tips on wrapping standing/stall bandages. This is a supportive bandage designed for stabled horses, and it comprises a quilt and a smooth outer wrap that sheds shavings. You’ll see many horses wrapped with this type of bandage at competition as it keeps the leg from stocking up over night. Standing bandages are also used to keep leg wounds clean and hold poultice and other treatments on the leg. Here are a few tips to get you wrapping standing bandages like a pro:

  1. Choose quilts that are the right length for your horse’s leg (measure from the bottom of the knee/hock joint to the ergot). They’re much easier to work with as you avoid any bunching around the pastern. If your quilts start to get lumpy with age, replace them.
  2. If you tend to over-tighten your wraps, choose a bandage that is not stretchy. It’s easier to maintain the correct amount of tension. There’s a reason you see old-school horsemen and women using flannel bandages over their quilts.
  3. Wrap your quilt and bandage from the inside of the leg out. To get the direction right, imagine drawing a heart on the ground around your horse’s legs (see video for example).
  4. Start in the middle of the leg, wrap down and then work your way back up. Maintain the thickness of your bandage at the top and bottom. If you have two layers of bandage at the top of the leg, you should have two layers at the fetlock too.
  5. If you’re using non-stretchy bandages, give a gentle tug towards the horse’s tail with each rotation. Never tug towards the horse’s head, as this can strain the tendons that run along the back of the leg.While your bandage should be snug, you should still be able to easily slide two fingers under it at the top and bottom.

Lastly, I just want to encourage you to practice, practice, practice. Wrapping gets a little easier each time you do it. As you can see, my wraps aren’t perfect, but they’re safe and they’ll only get better with practice. Feel free to comment below with your bandaging tips.

There may be a number of occasions when you will need to bandage your horse’s legs. Bandaging can be used for protection, support and injury. Correct leg bandaging is essential – applied incorrectly, bandages may cause discomfort, restrict blood flow and even cause injury. Learning the correct bandaging techniques can save your horse from potential damage.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Protection and support – when do I need to use bandages?

Domestic horses have to deal with the unbalancing effects of a rider and perform movements, e.g. circles, lateral work and jumping, which increase the chance of your horse knocking itself. Your horse’s natural movements or conformation defects may also result in it inflicting damage, especially if it is shod. Fitting leg protection is advisable, especially when competing over fences.

What sort of bandages can I use?

Bandages tend to offer better support than any alternatives as they conform well to the leg, they do, however, take practice to put on correctly. Types of bandages include:

  • Exercise bandages: these require a layer of padding underneath them, e.g. gamgee, foam or pads. The bandages are made from a stretchy crepe-like material for support and protection of the leg from the fetlock up to the knee. Care must be taken not to apply these too tightly.
  • Stable bandages: these are slightly wider than exercise bandages and are usually made of thicker wool-type material. They have some give but are not stretchy like the exercise bandages. They are also designed to support and protect the leg from the coronet up to the knee or hock.
  • Tail bandages: these are made from similar material to exercise bandages. Tail bandages are mainly used to protect the tail while travelling. They can also be used to smooth the top of the tail before a show.

How do I apply a bandage?

  • Make sure the legs and bandages are clean and dry. If there is a wound, make sure it has been cleaned, rinsed and dressed according to your vet’s recommendations.
  • Always stand to the side of the leg, facing the hindquarters, when applying or removing bandages or boots.
  • Apply an inch or more of soft, clean padding so it lies flat and wrinkle-free against the skin, this will protect the leg beneath the bandage.
  • Start the bandage at the inside of the cannon bone, above the fetlock joint. Do not begin or end bandaging over a joint, movement may loosen the bandage and cause it to come undone.
  • The bandage should be applied in a spiral pattern, working down the leg, from front to back (counterclockwise on left legs, clockwise on right legs), and up again, overlapping the each layer by approximately 50%.
  • Half an inch of the padding should remain visible at the top and bottom. If there is a potential problem with bedding or debris getting into the bandage, seal the openings with a loose wrap of flexible adhesive bandage.
  • Use smooth, even pressure on the bandage to compress the padding. Make sure no lumps or bumps form beneath the bandage.
  • Be careful not to bandage the legs too tightly, creating pressure points and eventual damage.
  • Avoid applying bandages too loosely, they will not provide the support needed and may become a source of danger/injury, especially when travelling.
  • Leg padding and bandages should extend to below the coronet band of the hoof for protection, especially when travelling.

Are there any alternatives?

For daily exercise, boots are easier to fit and keep clean. Boots can be made from various materials, e.g. felt, leather, neoprene and plastic. Some boots have a shock-absorbing lining of either rubber or sheepskin. They also have various fastenings, e.g. buckle, hook and eye, Velcro. The back pair of boots will be slightly longer, with 4 or 5 straps compared to 2 or 3 on the front pair – all the straps should secure backwards and the pressure should be even. It is, however, very important that the right size boot is fitted to the front legs so they do not interfere with the knee joint. Types include:

  • Brushing boot: this is the most commonly used boot which protects the lower leg from just below the knee to above the fetlock. Some brushing boots have built-in tendon guards.
  • Fetlock boot: this is a shorter boot which protects the fetlock joint from brushing injuries.
  • Hock boot: this is used when travelling and only protects the hock joint.
  • Knee boot: used when travelling and while being ridden, the knees are protected in the event of a fall.
  • Over-reach boot: this protects the heels of the front feet from being trodden on by the back feet.
  • Tendon boot: for use when jumping or galloping. The boot protects the tendons from being cut by the hind feet.
  • Travelling boot: this offers padded protection from above the knee to below the coronet on the front legs and from above the hock to below the coronet on the back legs. Shorter versions are also available, but all travelling boots should come below the coronet to protect against over-reaching.

Wounds – when do I need to use bandages?

The reasons for placing a pad and bandage over a wound are to provide protection, ensuring a clean environment on the wound and to provide general support to tissues surrounding the wound. Bandaging of lower leg wounds generally reduces the formation of granulation tissue or proud flesh.
When a wound is in a high-motion area, e.g. over a joint, an appropriate pad and bandage will create some degree of immobility that can increase the chance of a primary repair being successful. These bandages can be difficult to apply, especially to the hind leg and they tend to slip with leg motion. If in doubt, call your vet.

What sort of bandages can I use?

Suitable bandages for first aid are usually a plaster bandage with an adhesive surface or a cotton crepe bandage. The wound should be covered in gauze before bandaging. Do not use cotton wool – small fibres will collect in the wound and act as a foreign body, therefore slowing down the healing process. If in doubt, call your vet.

There may be a number of occasions when you will need to bandage your horse’s legs. Bandaging can be used for protection, support and injury. Correct leg bandaging is essential – applied incorrectly, bandages may cause discomfort, restrict blood flow and even cause injury. Learning the correct bandaging techniques can save your horse from potential damage.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Protection and support – when do I need to use bandages?

Domestic horses have to deal with the unbalancing effects of a rider and perform movements, e.g. circles, lateral work and jumping, which increase the chance of your horse knocking itself. Your horse’s natural movements or conformation defects may also result in it inflicting damage, especially if it is shod. Fitting leg protection is advisable, especially when competing over fences.

What sort of bandages can I use?

Bandages tend to offer better support than any alternatives as they conform well to the leg, they do, however, take practice to put on correctly. Types of bandages include:

  • Exercise bandages: these require a layer of padding underneath them, e.g. gamgee, foam or pads. The bandages are made from a stretchy crepe-like material for support and protection of the leg from the fetlock up to the knee. Care must be taken not to apply these too tightly.
  • Stable bandages: these are slightly wider than exercise bandages and are usually made of thicker wool-type material. They have some give but are not stretchy like the exercise bandages. They are also designed to support and protect the leg from the coronet up to the knee or hock.
  • Tail bandages: these are made from similar material to exercise bandages. Tail bandages are mainly used to protect the tail while travelling. They can also be used to smooth the top of the tail before a show.

How do I apply a bandage?

  • Make sure the legs and bandages are clean and dry. If there is a wound, make sure it has been cleaned, rinsed and dressed according to your vet’s recommendations.
  • Always stand to the side of the leg, facing the hindquarters, when applying or removing bandages or boots.
  • Apply an inch or more of soft, clean padding so it lies flat and wrinkle-free against the skin, this will protect the leg beneath the bandage.
  • Start the bandage at the inside of the cannon bone, above the fetlock joint. Do not begin or end bandaging over a joint, movement may loosen the bandage and cause it to come undone.
  • The bandage should be applied in a spiral pattern, working down the leg, from front to back (counterclockwise on left legs, clockwise on right legs), and up again, overlapping the each layer by approximately 50%.
  • Half an inch of the padding should remain visible at the top and bottom. If there is a potential problem with bedding or debris getting into the bandage, seal the openings with a loose wrap of flexible adhesive bandage.
  • Use smooth, even pressure on the bandage to compress the padding. Make sure no lumps or bumps form beneath the bandage.
  • Be careful not to bandage the legs too tightly, creating pressure points and eventual damage.
  • Avoid applying bandages too loosely, they will not provide the support needed and may become a source of danger/injury, especially when travelling.
  • Leg padding and bandages should extend to below the coronet band of the hoof for protection, especially when travelling.

Are there any alternatives?

For daily exercise, boots are easier to fit and keep clean. Boots can be made from various materials, e.g. felt, leather, neoprene and plastic. Some boots have a shock-absorbing lining of either rubber or sheepskin. They also have various fastenings, e.g. buckle, hook and eye, Velcro. The back pair of boots will be slightly longer, with 4 or 5 straps compared to 2 or 3 on the front pair – all the straps should secure backwards and the pressure should be even. It is, however, very important that the right size boot is fitted to the front legs so they do not interfere with the knee joint. Types include:

  • Brushing boot: this is the most commonly used boot which protects the lower leg from just below the knee to above the fetlock. Some brushing boots have built-in tendon guards.
  • Fetlock boot: this is a shorter boot which protects the fetlock joint from brushing injuries.
  • Hock boot: this is used when travelling and only protects the hock joint.
  • Knee boot: used when travelling and while being ridden, the knees are protected in the event of a fall.
  • Over-reach boot: this protects the heels of the front feet from being trodden on by the back feet.
  • Tendon boot: for use when jumping or galloping. The boot protects the tendons from being cut by the hind feet.
  • Travelling boot: this offers padded protection from above the knee to below the coronet on the front legs and from above the hock to below the coronet on the back legs. Shorter versions are also available, but all travelling boots should come below the coronet to protect against over-reaching.

Wounds – when do I need to use bandages?

The reasons for placing a pad and bandage over a wound are to provide protection, ensuring a clean environment on the wound and to provide general support to tissues surrounding the wound. Bandaging of lower leg wounds generally reduces the formation of granulation tissue or proud flesh.
When a wound is in a high-motion area, e.g. over a joint, an appropriate pad and bandage will create some degree of immobility that can increase the chance of a primary repair being successful. These bandages can be difficult to apply, especially to the hind leg and they tend to slip with leg motion. If in doubt, call your vet.

What sort of bandages can I use?

Suitable bandages for first aid are usually a plaster bandage with an adhesive surface or a cotton crepe bandage. The wound should be covered in gauze before bandaging. Do not use cotton wool – small fibres will collect in the wound and act as a foreign body, therefore slowing down the healing process. If in doubt, call your vet.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

In our first article we covered cleaning a recent flesh wound. Having cleaned the wound and surrounding area, the vet or you can now bandage the injured leg.

In this case a cotton wool wrap was made with 3 layers of sterile cotton wool and antiseptic cream applied to the cotton wool. Over this a layer of gauze was laid soaked in Lotagen so that the cotton wool does not come into direct contact with the open wound. This was wrapped around the horse’s injured leg then bandaged into place with Elastoplast dressing.

To bandage, start below the cotton wool so that the Elastoplast bandage adheres to the skin to hold the dressing in place.. When finishing, extend the bandage again above the dressing.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Hints for bandaging;

– Do not begin or end over joints, start below or above

– Wrap the leg from front to back, outside to inside (counter clockwise in left legs, clockwise in right legs)

– Wrap in a spiral pattern, working down the leg and up again, overlapping the preceding layer by 50 percent.

– Use smooth, uniform pressure on the support bandage to compress the padding. Make sure no lumps or ridges form beneath the bandage.

– Be careful not to wrap the legs too tightly, creating pressure points

– Avoid applying bandages too loosely. If loose bandages slip, they will not provide proper support and may endanger the horse

– Extend the bandages to within one half inch of the padding at the top and bottom.

– Instead of cotton wool you could use sterile Gamgee pads

As this horse was sedated (see previous article) the bandaging process was pretty easy, especially for an experienced vet. However, if you have not had much experience of bandaging a wound, it may not be quite so easy when it’s your turn!

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Ask your vet for advice about bandaging while he is there and watch carefully how he applies the dressing to the particular area of the wound on your horse so you can follow the procedure. It is expensive to have a vet visiting to re-bandage so here are some hints for you to apply new bandages yourself.

– Always have someone to assist and hold the horse; if tied up he may pull back and cause more damage

– Allocate plenty of time for the task

– If unfamiliar with bandaging, practise bandaging the same area on an uninjured quiet horse with polo bandages or other wraps (not Elastoplast!). This will give you a better idea of how to approach it and more confidence about the job (let’s face it, vets get lots of practise; that’s why they are good at it!)

– Prepare your bandaging requirements in advance – lay out everything you need on a towel in one area; scissors, bandages, cotton wool (or wraps), cleansing solution etc

How to apply a horse tail bandage

– Removing the old bandage can be tricky! Well applied bandages are meant to stay and sometimes take a while to remove. There are special bandage scissors which have rounded ends or your vet may leave a small scalpel blade for you to use which needs very careful handling so as to only slice through the outer bandage and not your horse’s leg or your finger (yes, I’m speaking from experience here!)

– Having removed the old bandage, examine the wound and surrounding area for any signs of heat, swelling or irritation then clean the wound and surrounding area (see previous article)

– Before using the Elastoplast bandage, unwrap and stretch out then rewrap onto the holder. This removes the tension of the bandage and makes it much easier to use when wrapping the leg.

– Apply the sterile dressing as instructed by your vet, apply to leg (by now hopefully your horse is getting used to having his leg and wound handled and is reasonably accepting) and bandage into place

– If you are bandaging a hind leg and the horse tends to move around, have someone hold up the front leg on the same side (as if you were picking out the hoof) to prevent them moving as easily

– When treating hind legs, tie up the horse’s tail so it doesn’t get in the way

There you go – a brand new bandage applied and your horse is on the road to recovery!

Please Note: this article is provided as general information only. Each situation and wound is unique and you should seek guidance from your vet as to the best treatment for your horse

How to apply a horse tail bandage

You might feel silly wrapping bandages around your dog, but bandages can be essential in ensuring your pup has a speedy and uninterrupted recovery. Bandages can prevent infection, stop bleeding, and relieve pain. If you’ve attempted to bandage your dog without getting some helpful tips first, you might have realized it’s difficult not to end up with a mummified doggo. Bandaging a dog requires the right supplies and technique to make it just right.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

If your dog has a little accident at home that requires medical attention, it's nice to have something on hand to give treatment immediately. Fauna Care healing sprays are easy to use and effective for addressing the minor injuries your dog could get around the house.

This article covers:

  • What you need to get started
  • How to bandage your dog
  • How to keep the bandage on

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Supplies Needed

Time to stock up on these supplies if you don’t have them already. It’s a bit redundant to have a dog safety kit, when your dogs will be just as happy with human supplies. If you don’t have these medical supplies at home already, put together a kit now for the safety of yourself and your pup!

  • Antiseptic
  • Sterile pads
  • Adhesive bandages or tape
  • Rolls of cotton and gauze
  • Household sticky tape

How to apply a horse tail bandage

You can also make your own supplies. Bandages can be replaced by sheets, towel strips, or old clothes cut for your dog. Paper products can act as a pad.

Step by Step What to Do

Safety kit, check. Injured pup on standby, check. It’s time to properly bandage your dog. Gather a team if you must to keep your dog as calm and still as possible while you apply the bandages. Be gentle and avoid making your dog spooked and anxious — it may scare your dog into biting, and then you’ll have two injuries to worry about. Giving your dog frequent praise will comfort your dog and let them know this isn’t a procedure that needs dreading.

Step One: Disinfect

There’s no point wrapping a wound that hasn’t been treated first. The extent of the wound will determine the type of care required, but generally it must always be cleaned and disinfected. The wound may be too serious for home care, and don’t hesitate calling your veterinarian for immediate medical attention if you deem it necessary.

Step Two: Cover with a pad

Once the wound had been treated, place an absorbent pad over the wound. This pad should be sterilized and nonstick.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Step Three: Apply the Bandage

While holding the pad in place, gently begin wrapping a gauze bandage over it. Wrapping the bandage with 100% overlap will be difficult to secure, will likely become too tight or too loose, and suffocate the wound. This should be avoided and instead shift the position of the bandage with each wrap. With each wrap, one-third of the underlying section of bandage should be visible from the overlap. Continue the wrap over onto the dog’s fur on either side of the pad.

Step Four: Secure the Bandage

Beginning to secure the bandage in place requires a layer of adhesive tape or additional bandage over the gauze bandage. Wrap a layer over the gauze.

Step Five: Check the tightness

We don’t want the bandage to be too loose because it will have an easy time slipping off and won’t apply necessary pressure. We also don’t want it too tight, as the circulation to the wound is impared and will bring discomfort onto your pup.

You can test the pressure by placing your fingers under the bandages. Two fingers should fit comfortably underneath. If you can’t fit your two fingers comfortably underneath, or the bandage allows more than two, adjust the tightness of the bandages by rewrapping. Once you approve of the tightness, wrap a tighter (with moderation) layer of adhesive material with your fingers still under the bandages.

Step Six: Make it stay

A strip of sticky tape can keep a bandage in place. Connect it between the bandage and the surrounding fur.

Step Seven: Location of wound

Where you’re bandaging your dog will impact how you go about doing it. Generally following the first six rules, you should also put into effect these extra steps if the wound is on the tail, leg, or torso.

  • Tail wound: The steps above don’t change, but make sure to use longer material and secure the bandage on the tail for when your dog goes on a tail wagging spree.
  • Leg wound: Between the gauze and adhesive wraps, there should be an additional layer of roll cotton and gauze.
  • Torso wound: Use a towel or pillow case to wrap around the dog’s torso. Use pins on the opposite side of the wound to secure it together.

Step Eight: Replace when needed

Keep an eye on your dog and the bandage, and notice when it slips or appears uncomfortable for your dog. Adjust the bandages as needed. The bandage may become dirty, in which case an immediate replacement is necessary.

How to Keep the Bandage On

The next challenge comes with keeping the bandage on. The wound may be in an awkward place that is difficult to bandage comfortably and securely. Or the bandage may be within biting range, and your pup decides it’s time for it to come off. Some of this can’t be avoided, but there are a few things you can do to avoid any unwinding of hard work.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

  • Keeping the injured area dry before wrapping gives it a better chance of not slipping off. It’s best to keep the bandaging dry as well, which you can achieve by wrapping a plastic bag around the bandage.
  • Keep your dog indoors for the time they wear the bandage. When they need to go out for the bathroom, instead of letting them run out into the yard unsupervised, considering keeping them on a leash.
  • Consider using an Elizabethan collar to prevent the dog that chews off as fast as you apply. Consult your vet before taking this step.

Wrapping the bandage to get it just right might take a few tries. Take your time, don’t feel bad about trying again, and make sure your dog is faring well during the wrapping. Your proper care of the bandaging means your dog can get back to normal sooner than you hoped!

Wounds in horses are unfortunately extremely common and every horse owner should be aware of how to deal with them. Whilst many wounds are small and require little more than cleaning and monitoring closely, some inconspicuous looking wounds can have far more serious consequences than might first appear.

Assessing the wound

If the horse is out in the field, bring it in to the yard or onto a hard surface where the wound isn’t going to become more contaminated. If the horse is distressed or in pain, don’t take risks trying to examine the horse yourself; call a vet who can sedate the horse in order to assess the wound in a safe manner. It is important to restrain and calm the horse and stem any bleeding with direct pressure and apply a thick gamgee/lint dressing held in place with an elasticated bandage. Assess how comfortable your horse is; if it is lame, call a vet.

Types of wounds

There are 4 main types of wounds:

Puncture wounds – these may look small on the surface, but there may be significant damage beneath the skin surface. These may be complicated by infection, as contamination is introduced deep into the wound. Often, the skin heals before the underlying tissue. These wounds should be cleaned, lavaged, and encouraged to drain and remain unsutured.

Incised (slicing) wounds – these normally have smooth edges and are suitable for repair by suturing, stapling or gluing.

Lacerations – wounds that usually leave jagged edges and may cause underlying soft tissue damage and infection. These wounds may require some debridement (removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects) and are often best managed as open wounds, depending on severity and location.

Abrasions – these are generally minor wounds that require cleaning and can be treated topically.

What are the most common equine wounds?

The most common wounds occur on horse’s limbs and are caused by foreign objects such as fences, gates, farm implements and building materials. Wounds on the distal (lower) limbs of horses can be especially difficult to manage because of poor circulation, joint movement and minimal soft tissue between skin and bone. There is also always the risk of contamination from the environment. The smallest most innocuous looking cut or puncture wound can sometimes present a serious problem that may require surgery. Conversely, a wound that initially looks large and severe may require little veterinary attention. Eye injuries (eyelid tears, pus in the eye, clouding of the eye, the horse holding the eye shut) will require immediate veterinary attention.

Wash the wound thoroughly with cold water. This will also help reduce any swelling. Mild antiseptic solutions such as Hibiscrub are often used to clean the wound edges, but not deep wounds. Copious lavage or irrigation of the wound will wash away visible and microscopic debris and organisms. The best solution for irrigation is sterile saline with or without dilute antiseptics. If you can do it safely without further injuring the horse, or yourself, clip the hair around the wound. This will help to assess the wound and keep it clean. Vets will often administer Intrasite® gel into the wound before clipping to avoid contaminating the wound with hair. It is important to ensure the wound doesn’t involve a synovial cavity – a joint, tendon sheath or bursa. If the wound is large or deep, call the vet; it may require stitching.

If the wound looks simple, you are confident that it doesn’t overlie an important structure and the horse is not lame, you can apply a clean dressing. If in doubt, ask your vet to show you how to apply a dressing. Ideally the dressing should be applied with firm pressure, but not too tightly as this can cause serious complications such as bowed tendons, constriction of the blood supply or restricting return of blood from the area. If it is too loose, it may not stay in place and could cause rubs.

For minor eye wounds, clean with water or a salt solution and apply a cold compress if there is swelling. More severe eye wounds will require veterinary attention.

Monitor the wound until it heals fully. If the wound doesn’t seem to be healing well or quickly, there may be a more serious underlying issue which is preventing the wound from healing. If the horse appears to be getting more lame, call a vet; it may be more serious than you first thought.

Allow the wound time to heal if it is large, or if it is obviously being affected by exercise – movement will delay wound healing, so it will take longer to heal completely which in turn will increase the cost of dressing materials etc.

When to call a vet

  • If the wound is large or deep or if it is bleeding profusely.
  • If the eye is injured – eye injuries can be extremely painful.
  • If the wound is near a joint or tendon sheath. Wounds that involve joints or tendon sheaths require surgery to flush the joint or sheath with fluids. If you think it’s close to any of these structures; it is better to be safe than to run the risk of a long-standing infection in a joint which can have serious consequences and will be expensive to treat. If there is a clear, sticky discharge coming from the wound call your vet immediately; it could be synovial fluid from a joint or sheath.

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Title: HORSE SENSE: Step-by-step guide to stable bandaging

This week we look at why stable bandages are used and how to apply them correctly

How to apply a horse tail bandage

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Not all injuries require bandaging and some may actually fare better left uncovered Consider these variables before dressing an injury.

Does your horse’s wound need a bandage? It depends. To heal quickly, most cuts and abrasions need nothing more than to remain clean and free of irritation. When bandages promote these conditions, they are the preferred choice. But the quick-growing replacement skin that forms under a horse’s bandage is fragile and may need to be treated with greater care than the slower-growing tissue that fills wounds left exposed to the air. In some circumstances, a bandage’s pressure and friction can actually prolong healing. Add in the expense of the materials and the requisite caretaking efforts, and you’ll see that unnecessary bandaging benefits neither horse nor owner.

How to apply a horse tail bandageMany factors need to be considered when deciding whether or not to bandage a horse’s wound.

In deciding whether to bandage a wound, location and depth are the key considerations:

  • Leave high wounds uncovered; put low wounds under wraps. Uncontaminated wounds above the elbow and stifle are likely to scab over and heal well on their own. This rapid response is a function of the relative immobility of the horse’s torso and the superior circulation at or above the heart level. In contrast, lower-leg wounds are often irritated by dirt, motion and abrasion. The high capillary pressure in the legs, resulting from their location below the heart, promotes the formation of proud flesh, an excessive growth of granulation tissue that won’t heal over. Carefully applied bandages are often beneficial for wounds at or below the knees or hocks.
  • Leave shallow wounds unbandaged;keep “full-thickness” wounds covered. Once they’re thoroughly cleaned, superficial scrapes and abrasions are left open to the air, as they form strong scabs almost immediately. A full-thickness wound – one that penetrates all skin layers so that the edges separate or can be pulled apart to reveal underlying structures – does not form a strong scab and can invite deep infection if left exposed. For wounds that require stitching, ask the attending veterinarian about bandaging recommendations.

In general, simple wounds above the knee and hock do just fine without bandages, which most full-thickness wounds heal better with bandages. New skin formed under bandages may require surface ointments or a loose covering until it toughens up enough to face the elements.

My horse’s tail is…Thoroughbred-y. It’s longish, but oh-so-wispy. How do you help a tail grow/fill out more – and how do you keep it from getting destroyed?” – Sara F. from Weymouth, MA

My grandad would always say, “it’s the tail that makes the horse”. He was always wanting his hunters to have thick full tails. If they weren’t pulled properly then either he or I would braid them for hunting and they had to be banged at the correct length!

To keep tails well maintained I follow a few basic rules, these apply no matter what type of tail your horse has.

  • Never comb / brush out a wet tail.
    Wet hair stretches therefore damage can be caused when trying to comb thru a tail when it isn’t dry. Always place any detangle product in a clean wet tail and then allow to dry before attempting to brush through the tail.
  • If tails are not washed on a daily basis then I only finger groom them. Teasing out any knots and removing straw, hay or shavings with my fingers rather then using a comb that will pull out more hairs and break the ends.
  • My personal choice is to keep tails banged. I run my hand down the length of the tail to approximately one inch below the chestnut and then cut straight across the tail. For some people this may be considered too short. Tail length is a personal choice. I feel at this length banged tails give an overall impression of being ‘more full’ as well as being easier to take care of.

Tips for those thin, wispy tails

It can take time to improve the look of a horses tail however with a bit of TLC it can be done. The Shapelys product, MTG is great for improving hair growth.

Apply thru the length of the tail and then braid it over night to prevent tangles. You can repeat this process every night however to prevent tail getting really ‘greasy’ doing this process every third day is just as effective. Done over a long period you should see improvement in the length of tail as well as hair thickness.

At the end of the eventing season I will bang tails extra short. For very thin tails I will go above the hock. This is not aesthetically pleasing to begin with however this does develop a fuller tail by the time eventing season starts up again.

Although I have not used this method myself daily bagging of a tail is a common method used to prevent breakage and tails becoming thin. Some cotton sheets and fly sheets are now available that come with attachable tail bags. You can also buy a tail bag and then sew it onto your sheet if you are handy with a needle and thread!

I hope some of these tips work for your tail.

Emma Ford is one of the most respected grooms in US Eventing. Born and raised in the UK, Emma came to the US in 1998 to groom for top eventer Adrienne Iorio. After seven years with Adrienne, Emma moved to True Prospect Farm to work with five-time Olympian and 13-time USEA Leading Rider of the Year, Phillip Dutton. During her tenure with Phillip, Emma cared for many famous equine athletes including Connaught, TruLuck, Woodburn, and Mystery Whisper. She’s groomed at Burghley, Blenheim and Boekelo, cared for horses at the 2006 and 2010 World Championships, 2007 Pan Am Games, and 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and groomed at Rolex Kentucky and Fair Hill International every year since 2001. And now she’s here to help you! Submit your grooming questions and Emma just may be able to teach you a few of her tricks!

How to apply a horse tail bandage

Unwanted biting or chewing in horses includes crib-biting, wood chewing, mane and tail chewing, as well as rug or bandage chewing. Although all are distinct in nature they are destructive in their own way either to stable furniture, horse condition or horse value. Once these unwanted behaviours begin they can be hard to break and horse owners require commitment and patience in trying to eliminate or control these behaviours.

Crib-biting

Crib-biting (“cribbing”) is perhaps the most serious of these unwanted biting behaviours, as it is considered a serious stable vice and often accompanied by wind-sucking. A crib-biter grasps a solid object (for example: top of stable door) with their incisor teeth, tenses and arches their neck and gulps air with a distinctive noise. This stereotypic behaviour is repeated often throughout the day.

Crib-biting most commonly occurs in stabled-horses with up to 1 in 10 thoroughbreds affected. It is associated with long periods of stabling, low pasture turnout, low forage feeding and apparent horse boredom.

Once established as a vice, crib-biting is difficult to eliminate. Over time it leads to abnormal wear of incisor teeth, predisposes to colic and is associated with increased incidence of stomach ulcers. Crib-biting also leads to damage of surfaces that the horse grasps.

A variety of techniques can be used to help deal with crib-biting.

• Increase pasture turnout and forage availability
• Stable enrichment (for example, using stable balls or mirrors)
• Vice-breaker neck collars
• Coating favoured cribbing surfaces with a distasteful deterrent substance to stop the initial grasping behaviour.

Wood Chewing

A less serious behaviour which can be mistaken for crib-biting is wood chewing, while this is an undesirable behaviour in a horse, it is not considered a stable vice. A horse that wood chews bites onto or tears out, pieces of wooden doors, railings, posts etc. Once again this is most commonly seen in stabled horses, but can occur in horses in pasture.

Wood chewing can be due to pica, where a horse has unnatural dietary cravings due to mineral imbalances. Other possible causes include boredom, lack of forage to satisfy chewing need, lack of exercise or internal parasites. Wood chewing can lead to wear of incisor teeth or ingestion of foreign objects, which can lead to impaction colic.

Wood chewing can be reduced by;

• Feeding a complete balanced diet
• Increasing forage availability
• Increasing turn out time
• Erecting an electric fence barrier to wooden railings
• Coating the wooden stable or paddock furniture with a distasteful deterrent substance to stop biting or chewing
Capsaicin Free

• Capsaicin is the chemical compound in chilli peppers which makes them taste hot. The higher the levels of capsaicin in a chilli pepper the hotter it tastes. Because of this it is included in Crib-Halt as an extremely distasteful natural substance, which horses do not become accustomed to
• Capsaicin is banned for use in competition horses because it has some pain relieving properties. Foran Equine has developed an equally distasteful capsaicin free product which is safe to use in competing and racing horses.

Mane and Tail Biting

Unlike either crib-biting or wood chewing the main observed problem with mane and tail biting is not the offending horse, but a shortened, chewed mane or tail. Mane and tail biting is most common in foals and yearlings and may be due to a mineral imbalance causing pica.

Mane and tail biting can lead to excessive hair ingestion resulting in trichobezors (hair balls) which can cause impaction colic.

Mane and tail biting can be resolved by:

• Separating from the herd for a month. This is not always possible with foals or young horses.
• Coating of manes and tails with a distasteful deterrent substance to stop biting or chewing such as No Bite can help eliminated the biting and restore the mane and tail condition.
• Feeding a complete balanced diet

Bandage/Rug Chewing

Horses will often chew or pull at rugs or bandages once applied, this can cause both damage the rugs or bandages and wound contamination. Cases of rug or bandage chewing can improve by coating the items with a distasteful deterrent substance to stop biting or chewing such as No Bite.

Horses have to deal with many things, increasingly the unbalancing effects of a rider and the expectation to perform movements, e.g. circles and lateral work. This in turn increases the chance of your horse knocking itself. Your horse’s natural movements or conformation may also result in it inflicting damage, especially if it is shod. Fitting leg protection is advisable especially when riding young, imbalanced horses or training new movements. Exercise bandages should not impede the flexion of the horses’ joints and it is vital they are applied correctly.

How to fit the perfect bandage

Most new exercise bandages are packaged with their Velcro closure out. To prepare the bandage for application, you’ll have to rewrap it in reverse. Start by undoing the Velcro and rolling the bandage backward so the closure is in the middle of the roll.

– Make sure the legs and bandages are clean and dry.

– Always stand to the side of the leg whilst bandaging.

– The cool space liner provides extra comfort and cushioning, no extra padding is needed underneath these bandages.

Start the bandage on the outside of the leg, under the knee or hock joint (The end of the bandage should be facing forwards)

– Apply with firm and even tension wrapping the bandage in a spiral pattern, down the leg, working from front of back. Overlapping each layer by approximately 50%.

– You should reach the fetlock where the padding ends, ideally leaving an inverted ‘V’ at the front of the fetlock joint where the bandage crosses itself.

– Use smooth, even pressure on the bandage and take it back up the leg.

– Fasten at the same pressure as the rest of the bandage.

Be careful not to bandage the legs too tightly, creating pressure points and eventual damage.

How to apply a horse tail bandage

When constructing bandages, several principles must be followed to avoid complications. The bandages should be sufficiently padded, applied evenly and snugly, composed of three layers (primary, secondary, and tertiary), and placed to avoid traumatizing the newly formed granulation tissue or epithelium.

The first or primary layer directly contacts the wound to allow tissue fluid to pass through to the secondary layer. The first layer may be an adherent or nonadherent dressing. A nonadherent dressing is usually a fine mesh or foam, nonstick material. This layer prevents tissue desiccation and causes minimal trauma. An adherent bandage uses a wide mesh material that allows tissue and debris to become incorporated into the bandage. This debris is then removed with the bandage change. However, because they are nonselective, healthy tissue may also be damaged.

Adherent bandages are classified as dry to dry, wet to dry, or wet to wet based on the composition of the primary layer. Dry-to-dry bandages consist of dry gauze applied to the wound. The bandages are painful to remove but enable significant tissue debridement. Wet-to-dry bandages are made with saline-moistened gauze placed directly on the wound. They are also painful to remove but result in less tissue desiccation than dry-to-dry bandages. Wet-to-wet bandages tend to damage the tissue bed by keeping it too moist.

The secondary layer of a bandage absorbs tissue fluid, pads the wound, and supports or immobilizes the limb. This layer is typically composed of cast padding or roll cotton.

The tertiary layer functions to hold the primary and secondary layers in place, provide pressure, and keep the inner layers protected from the environment. This layer is composed of adhesive tape or elastic wraps.

Bandages have a number of potential complications. Bandages applied too tight can result in neurovascular compromise and subsequent tissue necrosis. In some cases this damage can result in loss of a limb.

Bandages are used to help keep wounds moist for optimal healing. This can also result in excess moisture left in contact with healthy skin. The enzymes in wound exudate can cause moisture-associated skin damage (MASD) in healthy skin. MASD may also be induced by retention of urine or fecal matter within the bandage. Commercial barrier creams are available to protect healthy skin from MASD.

Dressings

Dressings are designed to aid in wound healing.

The ideal dressing should:

protect the wound

keep the environment moist

be minimally painful to the patient

be cost effective

It may also aid in debridement, absorb exudate, or deliver topical agents to the wound. Those topical agents Topical Agents may include honey, silver, other antimicrobials, or any agent that speeds wound healing.

Hydrogel dressings have a large fluid content, which adds water to the wound bed. Designed for dry or necrotic wounds, these dressings should not be used in highly exudative wounds.

Hydrocolloid dressings are occlusive dressings that are nearly impenetrable to bacteria. They can donate fluid to the wound and are useful in dry wounds. The dressing permits autolytic debridement by keeping the wound moist. Hydrocolloid dressings should be used with caution in veterinary patients. Due to differences in skin physiology, these dressings do not adhere well to the skin of most veterinary patients.

Hydrofoam dressings may be composed of polyurethane or silicone. Many of the newer dressings also incorporate nanocrystalline silver. Because of the nature of the foam, these dressings can absorb significant exudate. In addition, they can add some protection to the wound. A compressive bandage around the dressing may compromise some of the beneficial effects of a foam dressing.

Alginate dressings usually contain calcium and may also be combined with silver or honey. Indicated for exudative wounds, these dressings absorb wound exudate to form a gel on the wound surface. Alginates also have some hemostatic benefits and cause minimal pain on removal. They are contraindicated in dry wounds.

Microcurrent wound dressings (MCDs) are those that supply a low-level microcurrent to the wound to aid with healing. The original dressings were bulky items requiring a power source. Newer technology has allowed development of small wireless MCDs using a dot matrix design of alternating metals in the dressing. The low-level electrical current is created by the contact of the MCD with moisture from the wound exudate. The MCD affects wound healing through multiple mechanisms. In the inflammatory phase, MCDs may reduce the duration of inflammation in addition to having antibacterial effects. In the proliferative phase, MCDs appear to enhance angiogenesis, attract fibroblasts, and speed re-epithelialization.

Antimicrobial dressings are available in multiple forms and usually contain either metallic nanoparticles, honey, or polyhexamethylene biguanide. These dressings are indicated if bacterial contamination is suspected of slowing wound healing. They should be used for as long as two weeks and then reassessed. If there is no improvement, the choice of dressing should be reassessed.