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  • August 31, 2021 8 min read

    Horses are perversely accident-prone. From puncture wounds, broken legs, strained muscles, horses can give you frequent headaches and send you broke!

    Inherently intelligent and gentle creatures, horses can naturally survive in the wild. However, when taken away from their natural habitat, it's the owner's responsibility to take care of and ensure their horse is healthy and happy. If you think owning a horse is easy, think again. Caring for a horse is a lot of work and costs a lot of money.

    Despite being one of the most magnificent, graceful, and hardy domesticated animals, horses are unfortunately prone to accidents. From puncture wounds, broken legs, strained muscles, horses can give you frequent headaches!

    The most critical item to have in your barn is an equine first aid kit when it comes to horse health. It has all the essential tools, medicine, and types of equipment for treating mild to severe injuries.

    In this article, I will help you plan what to put in your first aid kit to help you take care of the most common horse injuries. The following items are your must-have first aid tools that should be inside your equine first-aid kit.

     

    Cohesive Bandages

    Cohesive bandages are the essential first-aid item. They get used for various applications, including dressings, supporting stable wraps, holding ice packs, and protecting wounds. They also come in loads of colourful designs that are convenient and creative at the same time.

     

    Liquid Bandages

    Bandaging can be hard and tricky for someone doing it for the first time. It's always recommended that someone who knows how to wrap horse bandages is available to do it. If not, liquid bandages are a good option. Liquid bandages are easy to apply bandages that offer breathable protection for wounds such as nicks and cuts. Because the injury isn't closed too tightly on the bandage, wounds heal faster using liquid bandages.

     

    Digital Thermometer

    Is your horse acting out of sorts? Perhaps he's looking a little dull? Horses come down with various illnesses that can present with an elevated temperature, so you must know how to take your horse's temperature. Thermometers can help you tell if your horse has elevated temperatures and if something's generally wrong with your pet. Cleaning the thermometer is a must after every use. If you can, I also suggest just buying disposable thermometer covers that prevent the spread of health problems.

     

    Stethoscope

    A stethoscope should be in every equine first aid kit. With it, you can listen to your horse's gut, heart rate, and breathing. Knowing your horse's vital signs is essential to prevent serious complications. It also helps assess further care in case of emergencies. If your horse's heart rate is higher than average, it may be experiencing illness, anxiety, pain, or even infection. 

     

    Pro tip: Learn what sound sand makes in a horse's stomach. 

     

    Betadine and Antiseptic Wound Cleaner

    Step one to treating a wound is cleaning it. Betadine and antiseptics are essentials for wound cleaning to prevent skin infection caused by open cuts and punctures. When cleaning, always dilute the antiseptics with clean water and use cotton wool to apply to the injury.

     

    Scissors, Gauze pads, and rolls

    Scissors are needed for cutting bandages and gauzes. They are a must in your equine kit. Gauze is an essential kit for soaking up the blood and body fluids of injured horses. They also help keep your first layer of bandaging in place.

     

    Diapers

    Gauze diapers are great first-aid tools to create waterproof protection for injured hoofs. Unlike bandages, diapers conform perfectly to your horse's foot. Diapers can absorb blood and other fluids from an injury keeping the wound dry and infection-free. It also has excellent closures, which make them better and more secure protection for avoiding further damage. 

     

    Vitamin E Cream or Zinc Oxide

    Great use for nicks and scrapes, vitamin E creams are another essential first aid cream that should be present in your equine kit. They can also soothe sunburn, grease heels and protect wounds from further infection. Topical antibiotic medicines can also be used to clean wounds if you don't have both. These antibiotics treat injuries and prevent disease without damaging any tissue.

     

    Epsom Salts

    Epsom salts have many good uses. They have become common supplements for horses and laxatives helping horses suffering from diarrhea. Epsom salts make excellent DIY poultices.

    They are also suitable for relieving pain from bruises and sprains. Epsom salts are very inexpensive and can be bought conveniently at any grocery or pharmacy.

     

    Ointments & Wound Powder

    Ointments and wound powder prevent new infections from entering the wound. When applied at the right time, the correct ointment can protect the wound and help with its natural healing processes. Ointments fasten the healing of wounds from nicks, cuts, and scrapes. They help keep the skin moist and clean and can also contain antibiotic ingredients.

    Often riders also use ointments to prevent the bandage from sticking invasively to open wounds. They're especially great for first aid because they don't dry up blood. They're a must to keep in every equine kit.

     

    Stable Wraps

    Wraps are essential equipment for equine emergencies. These wraps are designed to treat areas such as your horse's upper legs, shoulders, fetlocks, and necks. You want to have a couple of fresh, clean stable wraps close where you keep your equine kit.

     

    Pick, Brush, Comb, and Shedding Blade

    Looking good is important, especially for show horses. Always keep a hoof pick close in your portable equine kit to help scoop out dirt out of your horse's hooves when traveling. Plus, you will need a brush to get debris off your horse's coat and a comb to keep his coat shiny and well-kept all the time. During spring, you may also need a shedding blade to get rid of his winter coat.

     

    Twitch

    This tool will help divert your horse's attention while you're treating his injuries. It's easy to make one from just a bailing twine and a double-ended snap. You can use this to twist your horse's nose.

     

    Hoof boot

    Got your horse's hoof damaged? Protect it with a hoof boot.

     

    Fly Control Product

    Has your horse Injured its eye? Flies are a constant problem in many horse ranch all over the country. Keep a fly mask close in your kit to use for protection during these emergencies.

     

    Horse First-Aid Book

    Knowledge can save a life. First-aid vet books can be the best first-aid item you can have. Make sure you're well-prepared in case an emergency happens. Keep your first-aid vet book in your equine kit so you can have it as a resource in case you're not sure what to do.

     

    What To Put In Your Basic First Aid Kit?

    • Iodine spray
    • Petroleum jelly
    • Bottle of Sterile Water
    • Pack of salt
    • Scissors
    • Cotton wool
    • 2 rolls of gauze bandage
    • 1 roll of cotton wool (30 cm wide, 400g in weight)
    • 1 non-stick gauze
    • 1 multipurpose dressing
    • 1 roll of elastic adhesive bandage (10cm wide)
    • 1 roll of elastic stretch bandage

    What To Put in Your Complete First Aid Kit?

    • 100g of salt
    • Antiseptic solution
    • Iodine Tincture spray (ex. Betadine)
    • Antiseptic Ointment
    • 2 rolls of gauze bandage
    • 2 crepe bandages
    • 2 rolls of elastic stretch bandage
    • 2 rolls of adhesive bandage
    • 5 non-stick gauze dressing pads
    • 1 large roll of cotton wool
    • 1 petroleum jelly
    • Dressing scissors
    • Poultice
    • Silver duct tape
    • Hoof pick
    • Iodine spray
    • Petroleum jelly
    • Bottle of Sterile Water
    • Cotton wool
    • Plastic dish
    • Plastic teaspoons
    • Clean hand towels
    • Clinical thermometer
    • Ice cubes
    • Cold packs
    • Eye ointment

     

    Other Things To Keep In Mind

    • Make sure your horse is calm before assessing and treating the injury. Talk to your horse in a relaxed and confident manner so that it will feel less afraid.
    • Keep your horse restrained if possible. Even the tamest horse can grow defensive in the presence of discomfort and pain.
    • Keep your equine box clean and dry with a secure lid.
    • In addition to medical supplies, you may also want to have backup equipment such as a pocket knife, flashlight with extra batteries, buckets, hand saw, blindfold, and ropes.
    • You never know when your horse will suffer from an injury, so it's essential to keep your kits close. Make sure you have equine kits in various locations such as your barn, truck, and saddlebag.
    • Improper use of medication can seriously damage your horse. Call your vet if you're unsure of administering a particular potion.
    • Always have saline or sterile water available for cleaning wounds. Untreated and untested water can count high for bacteria and parasites and cause infections for your horse.
    • When cleaning wounds, wipe from the center of the injury out towards the skin. Clean wounds of any sign of dirt, which can cause further infection.
    • Your first aid kit should be portable and easy for one person to carry. Store it in a small plastic carry box which is easy to transport and transfer from one place to another.
    • Avoid putting your equine kit in a frequently dusty area if you're not going to use it all the time.
    • Remember to restock your kit after using it up on an episode.
    • There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your horses. Have different types and sizes of bandages if you have more than one horse.
    • Act smart and swiftly during emergencies and stay calm while treating your horse. You don't want to get your horse even more terrified by panicking.
    • Don't hesitate to call for help if you need an extra pair of hands to get the first-aid treatment done appropriately.
    • Check the expiration dates of medications twice regularly.
    • Always wash your hands before and after you treat wounds and other injuries.

     

    When To Call The Vet?

    Experienced horse owners can treat most minor cuts and wounds without vet help. But, there are instances when first-aid is not enough, and you have to call an expert as soon as possible. These include:

    1. Abnormal vital signs or temperature.
    2. When injury comes with bleeding, that won't stop.
    3. Don't hesitate to call your vet if signs of colic are present.
    4. Wounds that expose bones or those that leak strange fluids.
    5. Any cuts and lacerations that are deep or long and may require stitches.
    6. Watery diarrhea.
    7. Sudden respiratory distress such as difficulty breathing or noisy labored breathing.
    8. Seizures.
    9. Choking.
    10. Any eye injury that can cause loss of vision.

    Taking care of horses is like caring for babies. They can't speak for themselves and rely on you to make decisions for them. If you think your horse is having any problems, don't hesitate to call your veterinarian.

     

    Takeaways

    No matter how clean your stable, injury can happen to your beloved horse when you least expect it. The best way to ensure safety is always to be prepared. One way of doing this is by having an excellent equine kit. First aid equine kits are an essential part of any stable. If you love your horses, a complete equine first aid kit is a worthwhile investment. 

     

    Hopefully, this article has helped you create an excellent first aid kit for your horses.

    Want to learn more about horses? Check out our other articles as well.

    You can also check our shop to buy first-aid equipment to complete your equine kit.

     

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