Equine injuries can be just as common for horses that are stabled and those that are turned out to pasture. The best way to treat any injury is to be prepared with a well-stocked, easily accessible first aid kit. In fact, keeping even a few of the following first aid essentials could help save a severely injured horse’s life while you wait for your veterinarian to arrive.
Vital First Aid Supplies
Every horse owner needs a few basic first aid essentials. These items will help you dress wounds, and reduce swelling and inflammation until your veterinarian arrives. First aid kits are available for purchase at our clinic, or you can make your own kit with the following items, all of which are available at The Cheshire Horse:
- Bandages: Protect wounds, support muscles, and hold ice packs with horse leg wraps or self-adhesive bandages.
- Blunt-Tipped Scissors: Safely cut away and remove bandages and wraps.
- Buckets: Soak hooves with a few buckets kept specifically for first aid use.
- Flashlight: View wounds and injuries in low light conditions.
- Hoof Pick
- Ice Packs: Prevent and reduce swelling.
- Rubbing Alcohol: Disinfect wounds, or cool horses rapidly if febrile.
- Sheet or Roll Cotton: Help apply pressure bandages or offer support to injured muscles or bones.
- Sterile Gauze: Clean and cover minor cuts and wounds with sterile gauze or Telfa (non-stick) pads of various sizes. Use gauze rolls to hold dressings and pressure wraps in place.
- Exam Gloves: Keep your hands clean and help prevent wound contamination.
- Thermometer: Measure your horse’s temperature (normal range is 99.0°F to 101.5°F) if you have a concern before you call the vet. Every farm should have at least one working thermometer.
- Stethoscope: Know how to take your horses heart rate. If you don’t, ask your vet the next time they come to see your horse.
- Wound Antiseptic
- Wound Cleaner
Easy access to your veterinarian’s and farrier’s contact information is also vital. In addition, a complete record of all your horse’s medications, vaccinations, and dewormers is essential – especially in an emergency.
Helpful First Aid Extras
The best first aid kit holds a range of products to deal with a wide variety of injuries or accidents. In addition to the basics, having the following products accessible will help you further prepare for almost any mishap:
- Eye Cleanser/Saline
- Hoof Boot
- nSAIDS (phenylbutazone, banamine, Equioxx): Only used after consulting a veterinarian. Always take your horse’s temperature before administration.
Always have a fire extinguisher available in your barn and trailer/truck at all times!