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Ask Dr. Dave

Joelle from Alberta, Canada, writes:

Dear Dr. Dave,

I have a horse who cut her lip on the side of her mouth while she was tied to the horse trailer. The cut is half an inch long and 3/16 of an inch deep. She flicks her head every time I try to put my hand close to her mouth almost like she's head shy. I really need help with this. I'm wondering what I should do?

Dear Joelle,

I'm sorry to hear about your horse's lip. Was she tied to the trailer with her reins or with a lead rope?

Usually most mouth injuries heal with few problems, which is fortunate as they are very difficult to treat surgically. If the cut is located where the bit would be located, you may need to ride for a while in a hackamore or bitless bridle.

I would suggest you just stay away from her mouth until she is not so sensitive, basically, "don't make it a big deal!" However it would be a good idea to continue monitoring her condition. If you try to doctor it, and if she continues flicking her head, it wouldn't take her long to make that into a habit, a bad habit. Pretty annoying at the least!

If her mouth doesn't heal as you think it should, have your veterinarian evaluate it.

Best of luck to you and your horse. Let us know how she heals up.

Happy Trails,

Dr. Dave