Horse Care – First Aid Kit – Tips/Checklist
A well-stocked equine (and human) first-aid kit should be kept in a place where it is easily accessed. Any used or out-of-date items should be replaced as soon as possible. However, other than for minor injuries, a veterinarian should be consulted before treating a sick or injured animal. Our staff is very familiar with Horse Care needs… Please feel free to contact Dr. Sharp or Dr. Allen with any Horse Care questions you might have. The basic items any equine first-aid kit should include are:
In most locations, these are prescription medications and can only be obtained through a licensed Veterinarian. They should generally not be administered without prior consultation with a veterinarian, either over the telephone or by specific advance instruction.
Tools & Diagnostic Equipment
- Rectal thermometer
- Petroleum jelly (to use as lubrication for thermometer)
- Stethoscope (for listening to heartbeat, respiration and, in the case of suspected colic, gut sounds) Pulse and respiration can be determined without a stethoscope. Gut sounds can be heard by putting one’s ear to the horse’s side, but doing so increases the risk of being kicked by the horse.
- Sharp, clean scissors, reserved for first aid kit only
- Wire cutters (for freeing a tangled horse) or equivalent such as a fencing tool or lineman’s pliers; though these objects are often kept in a well-organized barn, an extra set in a first-aid kit is helpful for major emergencies.
- Flashlight and extra batteries (for nighttime emergencies or to add a light source in a shadowed area).
- Twitch, a device for holding the animal still during minor treatment
- Clean bucket, reserved for first-aid kit only, for washing out wounds
- Clean sponge, reserved for first-aid kit only
- Gauze (for cleaning wounds)
- Cotton balls or sheet cotton for absorbing liquids, particularly good for dipping into liquid products and then squeezing or dabbing the liquid onto a wound. (Cotton used to clean a wound may leave fibers in the injury; gauze is a better product if the wound must be touched.)
- Hypodermic syringe (without needle), for cleaning wounds. (Using the syringe to wash out a wound is preferable to cleaning it with cotton or gauze.) An old syringe, if cleaned first, works fine for this.
- Sterile saline solution, which is used to clean wounds. Contact lens solution may be used for this purpose.
- Latex/medical gloves, unused
- Clean towels and rags
- Disposable rags or paper towels
Bandages and other forms of protection
- Absorbent padding, such as roll cotton or a set of cotton leg wraps (keep a clean set sealed in a plastic bag)
- Gauze to be used as wound dressing underneath bandages
- Sterile wound dressing, such as telfa pads; large sizes of those intended for humans work well.
- Leg Bandages – stable bandages or rolls of self-adhering vet wrap
- Adhesive tape for keeping bandages in place
- Poultice boot, for hoof injuries. (A hoof boot can be used for this purpose, though a medical boot is usually easier to put on and take off)
- Medical grade antibacterial soap
- Wound ointment for minor scrapes.
- Antiseptic/Disinfectant, such as Betadine, diluted iodine solution, or hydrogen peroxide
- Epsom salts for drawing out infection & treating pain
- Poultice dressing. Disposable diapers (nappies) or sanitary napkins may also be cut and used as a poultice as they draw moisture out of wounds. Kaolin clay may also be used as a poultice.
- Phenylbutazone (“Bute”) paste for pain relief
- Flunixin Meglumine (“Banamine”, “Finadyne”) granules or paste for colic treatment
- Acepromazine (“Ace”) or similar tranquilizer pill, paste, or pre-filled injector
- Epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injectors for emergency treatment of a horse that goes into anaphylactic shock when stung by a bee, wasp or other insect
- Veterinarian’s and farrier’s telephone and emergency numbers.
- A paper and pencil, for recording symptoms, pulse, respiration and veterinary instructions.
- A Veterinary Emergency Handbook, giving basic instructions, in the event that a veterinarian cannot be reached immediately.
- Suitable box/container for all of the above, to keep materials and equipment clean and tidy.
- Helmets – “Lead by example” – Please teach your kids the importance of personal safety.
Reference Doc: Wikipedia – Horse Care