Horse First Aid Kit
Horses are inherently smart and gentle creatures who can naturally survive in the wild. However, when taken away from their natural habitat, it’s the owner’s responsibility to take care and ensure their horse is healthy and happy. If you think owning a horse is easy, think again. Taking care of a horse is a lot of work and a lot of money.
Despite being one of the most magnificent, graceful, and hardy domesticated animals, horses are unfortunately quite prone to accidents. From puncture wounds, broken legs, strained muscles, horses can give you frequent headaches!
This is why one of the most important things to have in your barn is an equine first aid kit as it has all the important tools, medicine, and types of equipment for treating mild to serious 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 kit.
Cohesive bandages are handy first-aid essentials that can be used for a myriad of purposes. From dressing, supporting stable wraps, to holding ice packs and protecting wounds, cohesive bandages are the first essential item to have in your equine first aid kit. They also come in loads of colourful designs that are convenient and creative at the same time.
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 wound isn’t closed too tightly on the bandage, wounds heal faster using liquid bandages.
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 it’s important that you 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.
The stethoscope is a valuable part of any equine first aid kit. It gives you the ability to listen to your horse’s gut, heart rate, and breathing. Knowing your horse’s vital signs is important to prevent serious complications. It also helps assess further care in case of emergencies. If your horse heart rate is higher than normal, he may be experiencing illness, anxiety, pain or even infection.
TIP: Every horse owner should know what sound sand makes in a horses stomach.
Betadine and Antiseptic Wound Cleaner
The first step to treating a wound is by cleaning it. When cleaning always dilute the wound with clean water and use cotton wool to apply the liquids. Betadine and antiseptics are essentials for wound cleaning to prevent skin infection caused by open cut and punctures.
Scissors, Gauze pads, and rolls
Scissors are needed for cutting bandages and gauzes. They are a must in your equine kit. Gauze are essential kits for soaking up blood and body fluids of injured horses. They also help keep your first layer of bandaging in place.
Gauze diapers are great first-aid tools to create waterproof protection for injured hoofs. Unlike bandages, diapers conform perfectly to your horse’s foot. It also has great closures which make them better and more secure protection for avoiding further injuries. You can also use baby diapers when you’re in a pinch. Diapers are able to absorb blood and other fluids from an injury keeping the wound dry and infection-free.
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 be used to 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 wounds and prevent infection without damaging any tissue.
Epsom salts have many good uses. They have become common supplements for horses and laxatives helping horses suffering from diarrhea. Epsom salts make great DIY poultices. They are also good 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 infection from entering the wound. The right ointment, when applied at the right time can protect the wound and help with its natural healing processes. Ointments fasten healing of wounds from nicks, cuts, and scrapes. They help keep the skin moist and clean and can also contain antibiotic ingredients. Other 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.
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. When traveling, always keep a hoof pick close in your portable equine kit to help scoop out dirt out of your horse’s hooves. You will also 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.
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.
Got your horse’s hoof damaged? Protect it with a hoof boot.
Fly Control Product
Flies are a constant problem in many horse ranch all over the country. Injured your horse’s eye? Keep a fly mask close in your kit to use it for protection during these emergencies.
Horse First-Aid Book
Knowledge can save a life. First-aid vet books can be the best first-aid tool you can have to make sure your well-prepared in case emergency happens. You may want to keep your first-aid vet book in your equine kit so you can have it for 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
- 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
- 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 calm and confident manner so that he will feel less afraid.
- Keep your horse restrained if possible. Even the tamest horse can grow defensive in 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 back up 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 very important to keep your kits close. Make sure you have equine kits in various locations such as your barn, truck, and saddle bag.
- Wrong use of medication can seriously damage your horse. Call your vet if you’re unsure of administering a certain potion.
- Always have saline or sterile water available for cleaning wounds. Untreated and untested water can count high for bacteria and may cause parasite and other infection for your horse.
- When cleaning wounds, wipe from the center of the wound out towards the skin. Clean wounds at the sign of dirt which can cause further infection.
- Your first aid kit should be portable and easy for one person to carry. It should be stored in a small plastic carry box which is easy to transport and transfer from one place to another.
- Avoid putting your equine kit in an easily dusted 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 type 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?
While some minor cuts and wounds can be taken care of easily with no vet help, there are instances when first-aid is not enough and you have to call an expert as soon as possible.
- Abnormal vital signs or temperature
- When injury comes with bleeding that won’t stop.
- Don’t hesitate to call your vet if signs of colic are present
- Wounds that expose bones or those that leak of strange fluids
- Any cuts and lacerations that are deep or long and may require stitches.
- Watery diarrhea
- Sudden respiratory distress such as difficulty breathing or noisy labored breathing.
- Any eye injury that can cause loss of vision
Taking care of a horse is like taking care of a baby. Both can’t speak for themselves and rely on you to make decisions for them. If you think your horse is having any problem, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.
No matter how good you keep your stable is injury can happen to your beloved horse when you least expect it. The best way to ensure safety is to always be prepared. One way of doing this is by having a good equine kit. First aid equine kits are an important part of any stable. If you love your horses, a complete equine first aid kit is a worthwhile investment. I hope the tips above have helped you create a good first aid kit for your horses.
Want to learn more about horses? Check our other articles as well.
You can also check our shop to buy first-aid equipment to complete your equine kit.