Penetrating wounds of the thorax in 15 horses

Sheila Laverty, J. P. Lavoie, John Pascoe, N. Ducharme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Clinical features, treatment and outcome of 15 horses with penetrating thoracic wounds are described. The most common cause of trauma was collision with an object (10 horses). Concurrent clinical findings included subcutaneous emphysema (12 horses), pneumothorax (12 horses), haemothorax (5 horses) and pneumomediastinum (6 horses). Axillary wounds were present in 5 horses. Foreign bodies were identified and removed from 2 horses. Wounds were sutured (6 horses) or packed (7 horses). Air was evacuated from the pleural cavities of 11 horses. Eleven horses (73%) were discharged from the hospital. All horses subjected to euthanasia had severe trauma to structures outside the thoracic cavity including perforation of the colon (2 horses), renal trauma (1 horse) and a luxated thoracolumbar vertebra (1 horse). From this study, it can be concluded that 1) the prognosis for horses with penetrating thoracic wounds, without extrathoracic injury, is favourable; 2) a thorough evaluation including the abdominal cavity should be performed and 3) horses with axillary wounds should be monitored closely for respiratory distress until the wound has completely healed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-224
Number of pages5
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Horse
  • Pneumothorax
  • Rib fracture
  • Thoracic trauma
  • Thoracic wounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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