The best wound cleaner for horses!


If I had a nickel every time I came to the barn and found a nick, scrape, scratch, cut, wound…I would have a boatload of nickels. I hope most of the wounds you will find are superficial and can easily be treated without your veterinarian. If you are in doubt or you suspect a puncture wound, it’s always best to call your veterinarian for a quick peek. You can then also get specific cleaning instructions about the best wound cleaner for your horse. 


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large gallons of betadine and nolvasan


The best way to clean your horse’s wound


  • You have a few choices and a few no-nos’s. Go ahead and scratch alcohol and hydrogen peroxide off the list, both of these burn (ouch) and can damage already broken tissues. Save the peroxide for getting stains out of your saddle pads. And if you even think of using bleach or other house cleaning solution…well, many four-letter words come to mind including NOOO!


  • Using a povidone-iodine solution is a good idea! You may have heard of Betadine – this is a brand name of povidone-iodine. Povidone-iodine will typically come in two forms – the scrub and the solution. The scrub also has detergents, which make it lather and create the need for total removal, so be prepared to rinse a lot. Scrubs are usually used for surgical procedures. A povidone-iodine solution is ideal for wound cleaning. Solutions are a bit runny, but using a cotton gauze square or cotton ball can help you get the solution where needed.


small scratches above a horse eye

NO Chlorhexidine near eyes


  • You can also use a chlorhexidine solution, usually blue or, in some cases, pink. I love this stuff – it’s a bit thicker than povidone-iodine, making it easier to clean a wound. It also foams a little bit. It’s easy to rinse off, too! A word of caution – don’t use chlorhexidine on the face or around the eyes – it can be damaging to vision and these soft, sensitive tissues.


Just add water


  • Your other option is to use normal saline or sterile water rinse. Normal saline is great for fresh wounds, but not for super dirty or necrotic wounds. And by the way, a super dirty or necrotic wound probably needs the vet. Make that definitely need the vet.


betadine and nolvasan cleaners

Does your first aid cabinet have these?


  • Sterile water is better than the hose or tap water but not as good as normal saline. All of these options are usually available at your local tack shop!


cleaning a horse leg wound with saline from an IV bag

A semi-gross shot of a horse wound being cleaned by my vet using saline from an IV bag. Super easy.




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Durvet Chlorhexidine 2% Solution, 16 fl. oz.

Betadine is handy at the barn.


 Fun colors of generic vetrap


Wahl Professional Animal Bravura Lithium Clipper – this includes the 5 in 1 blade that goes from a #9 to a #40. Perfect for designs!

Wahl Professional Animal ARCO with 5 in 1 blade

The best Elastikon tape – so sticky!


My favorite all-purpose first aid ointment to have around

                                                          ADC Veterinary Thermometer, Dual Scale, Adtemp 422 


3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope, Black Edition Chestpiece, Black Tube, 27 inch, 5803 – For finding heart rate and gut sounds


Weight Tape 



These bandage scissors are great for first aid kits and mane and tail trimming, there are no sharp points. 

Go for a three-pack if you want different sizes for your first aid kit.



Have a little fun with your barn scissors.






best wound cleaners for horses