Accidents and injuries can happen in the blink of an eye, so it is best always to be prepared! The perfect way to prepare for any misfortune your horse may encounter is to always have a well-stocked first-aid kit easily accessible. From bandaging a minor injury to treating a large wound, it is essential to have suitable materials while waiting for a trained veterinarian to arrive. You don't want to waste time hunting around for bandages, wraps, or other supplies you need during an emergency, so make your equine’s first-aid kit today!
The Importance of First-Aid Kits
Besides the typical injuries of cuts and bruises, other emergencies can include colic, choking, lameness, and illness. Keeping a first-aid kit in your barn and/or your horse trailer is essential should you ever need quick access to supplies when traveling. While gathering the supplies and equipment for your horse's first aid kit, consider the type of storage you will need. Ensure your equine first-aid kit is portable, well organized, and divided into several compartments to separate all medical supplies and equipment required for quick retrieval in an emergency. A compact toolbox, large fishing-tackle box, or a tight-sealing plastic container are great options to store your first-aid kit supplies! Ensure your container is clean, airtight, and waterproof so the contents stay sterile and ready to use.
In any emergency, having the right tools can make a big difference in a successful outcome. Equipment basics to have on-hand include:
- A flashlight with working batteries can be used to care for your horse at night or in dimly lit stalls
- A thermometer is essential to read your horse’s temperature and check for fevers
- Stethoscopes are used to check heart rate and listen to gut sounds.
- Surgical latex gloves help prevent wound contamination and keep your hands clean
- Rolls of duct tape are convenient for wrapping a hoof because they are waterproof and durable
- Bandage scissors with rounded ends are necessary to avoid cutting your horse when removing a bandage
- Tweezers are handy to help remove a splinter or tick
- Wire cutters are essential to free a horse from a fence they may have gotten caught in
- A cold pack reduces swelling from an injury
- A clean bucket to soak bruised or abscessed hooves or wash a wound
- A bath-size towel to use as a significant wound compression
Wound Treatments can warrant an immediate call to your veterinarian or can be easily treated at home. Some of these essential supplies can be used to quickly and gently clean and disinfect wounds:
- A bottle of antiseptic scrub for washing/disinfecting the wound
- A bottle of hydrogen peroxide to help clean dirt or other debris from an injury
- Antiseptic wound cream, powder, or spray-on treatment to prevent infection and encourage healing
- Rubbing alcohol to sterilize instruments such as scissors or thermometers
- A small tube of triple-antibiotic eye ointment is also crucial for the perfect first aid kit for your horse
Once a wound is cleaned, you will need various bandaging materials to cover the injury and keep it clean. Bandaging items include:
- Nonstick sterile gauze squares
- Self-sticking bandages to keep the gauze squares in place.
- Robust and elastic cloth tape (with a rubber-based adhesive)
- Four-inch gauze rolls for padding
- Rolls of absorbent, sterile sheet cotton, or gamgee
- A clean set of pillow wraps and bandages for an outer protective and supportive wrap over an already bandaged wound
- Two thick sanitary napkins or diapers, useful for padding a wrapped foot
Make sure to call a veterinarian if your horse is experiencing severe bleeding or has sustained deep wounds.
When to Contact the Vet?
Once you have your equine first-aid kit, you are prepared to help your horse to the best of your ability. Depending on the situation, you may be able to handle the problem independently, but in other instances, it is best to call your veterinarian for help! For example, if your horse is experiencing the following conditions, you must contact your veterinarian immediately. These conditions can include respiratory distress, persistent bleeding, or severe injury with deep wounds. In addition, other symptoms can consist of suspected bone fractures, inability to stand, loss of appetite, or abnormal sweating.
Don’t forget to put some of our Equine Medical and Surgical Associates LLC products in your first-aid kit too! We offer a variety of supplements, shampoos, sprays, and ointments that will be the perfect addition to your horse’s first-aid kit. Consult with your barn veterinarian and farrier regarding information and products obtained from Equine Medical and Surgical Associates LLC. to ensure they are medically indicated for your horse. Keep your equine safe this summer by prepping with a first-aid kit!