This section is from the book "The Horse - Its Treatment In Health And Disease", by J. Wortley Axe. Also available from Amazon: The Horse. Its Treatment In Health And Disease.
Punctured wounds result when sharp-pointed instruments, such as forks, nails, pieces of wire, splinters of wood, etc, enter the flesh.
The danger attaching to them will be in proportion as they are deep, and as they enter one or another of the various cavities of the body, or lay open vessels or divide nerves, or as the instruments by which they are inflicted are clean or dirty.
The horse is specially liable to this variety of wound in connection with the feet, either as the result of nails being driven into the quick in the act of shoeing or being trodden upon during progression.
In whatever way they are produced there is always more or less danger connected with them, on account of the introduction into them of foreign matter of a septic character, which poisons the wound and may set up serious local and constitutional mischief.
Punctured wounds frequently escape attention, until acute swelling and the formation of abscess bring them into notice. When, however, they are known to exist, such results may frequently be guarded against by prompt and proper treatment.
In this connection the extent, direction, and relations of the wound should first be determined, if possible, by means of a small aseptic probe carefully applied. While this is being done it should be specially noted whether any foreign body has been left in the wound or not.
Where it is practicable, punctured wounds should be syringed out with carbolic lotion (1:20). If matter accumulates, a counter-opening must be made at the most depending part to allow of its escape, or they should be laid freely open and treated as a common wound.
In dealing with punctured feet the horn is usually stained a dark colour in the track of the nail, and a dark serous fluid escapes, or may be pressed from the orifice.
All the horn along the course of the puncture should be removed down to the quick, and any part of the horny sole which may be found to be detached from the sensitive sole must be removed. Being a nonvascular structure it cannot again reunite, and may afford lodgment to foreign matter and become a means of keeping up irritation in the part.
After being freely laid open, the wound must be irrigated with carbolic lotion and covered with a thick layer of antiseptic wool sprinkled with iodoform. The shoe should then be lightly tacked on, and the dressing supported by strips of cane passed across the foot and secured between the shoe and the crust.
Where these wounds receive prompt attention, six or seven days suffice to effect reparation. If neglected, the pent-up matter will force its way upward towards the coronet and break through the skin, giving rise to quittor.
After the dressing has been applied, the foot should be put into a "boot" to protect the wound from dirt, or if necessary a carbolized poultice may be applied over it.