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You are here: Home > Equine First Aid Kit
''Neigh!''Everyone who owns or works with horses should have a stocked and fully functional first aid kit. A first aid kit may just save the life of your horse. A good kit will give you the tools to assess your horse and perform needed basic first aid. However, a kit should never replace the expert advice and care from your veterinarian. It is critical that horse owners be knowledgeable in basic human and equine first aid. With this knowledge you will be able to know just when to call your veterinarian or health care professional. Furthermore, with basic first aid you will be able to handle emergencies and minor injuries to you and your horse.

When building your horse's first aid kit, it is important that it be portable. The kit should be easy to carry by one person and to be sat on the ground, table or be taken on the road in a trailer. Many people have a wonderful supply of first aid equipment in their barn. But when emergencies happen they have to grab multiple items rather than one box or bag. The best way to start is with a plastic bucket or box that can be sealed tightly. Then take a permanent marker and label the box so that it is noted as the first aid kit. If you travel with your horses, you may want a second first aid kit for your horse trailer. It is recommended that owners keep a small kit together with the basics needed for hoof and wound care with a cell phone. This will help take care of minor injuries on the trail.

In a barn where multiple individuals use the facility make sure that you let all your staff and boarders know where this kit is located. Also tell them to let you know when items are used so that those items can be replaced. It is important to keep your first aid kit up to date and stocked. Check expiration dates on all items being used and replace them as needed. If you have scripted drugs for certain horses, it is important that these drugs are used under direction of your veterinarian and only for the horse and case directed on the label. Be prepared by having your veterinarian and emergency numbers near your barn phone, home phone or stored in your cell phone. Make sure all users of your facility know these numbers or where to find them. In an emergency, if in doubt, always call your veterinarian. They will be able to help ensure your horse's smooth recovery.

We know that you can never plan for every emergency, but with the right materials you can be set for most equine emergencies. Also, throw in some human items to cover possible human emergencies. Below is a list of recommended items for a simple first aid kit. Your veterinarian may have a list for you to work from as well.

ItemUse
StethoscopeListen for gut sounds, heart rate and respirations. Get to know your horse and their vitals while working and resting - this way you will immediately know when something is wrong.
Iodine Solution (Betadine) or NolvasonUsed to clean and prep wounds by flushing.
Saline or Sterile WaterUsed in flushing and cleaning wounds.
Furason, Neosporin (good for human wound care) and NolvasonThese are topical antiseptic ointments that fight bacteria and promote healing. NOTE: Your veterinarian will instruct you as to which is appropriate for your horse's injury.
Sterile Gauze Sponges (4" x 4" or Larger)Used for cleaning wounds and bandaging.
Plastic WrapUsed for sweat wraps.
Sterile Gauze Roll & Self-Adhesive Tape (Vet-Wrap)The Self-Adhesive Tape holds the Gauze to the wound. The tape is easily applied and removed.
Blunt-Tipped Bandage ScissorsRemoval or bandages or clothing (sometimes horses wear clothing).
Rectal Thermometer or Digital ThermometerUse with a string attached to prevent loss into the rectum or dropping or breaking it. NOTE: An adult horse's normal temperature is between 99° and 101° F (37.2° - 38.3° C). A foal is usually between 100° and 102° F (37.7° - 38.8° C). You should have some alcohol on hand to disinfect the thermometer. Remember, if using a mercury thermometer, to shake down the mercury at each use. If your horse's temperature is elevated, call your veterinarian immediately.
Instant Cold PacksCold compresses for horse and human use.
Disposable Diapers (2 or more)Used for bleeding - Excellent to absorb large amounts of blood.
KnifeUseful for many things including cutting rope, bandages, etc.
Stainless Steel Bucket, Tubs or CupsMix solutions for cleaning wounds and abrasions.
Latex GlovesUsed to apply medicine and clean wounds.
TweezersUsed to clean and care for wounds.
Twitch/Stud Chain with LeadControl when needed.
Duct TapeUse on hoofs.
Easy-BootUse on hoofs.
Hoof Pick and Shoe PullerClean foot or pull a shoe.
FlashlightProvide light as needed for inspection of injuries.
Disposable Syringes and NeedlesFlush wounds or inject medicine as needed.
Epsom SaltsSoak and clean.
Cotton Roll or Reusable Leg QuiltsWrapping wounds and legs for support.
Clean Towels and RagsUsed in cleanup or wound care.
Equine First Aid BookHelpful hints to help you with common horse injuries. NOTE: This is never a replacement for the expert knowledge of your veterinarian.
Fly RepellantRepel flies.
MedicationsSome people like to carry Bute or other scripted drugs with them. These must be obtained and used under your veterinarian's direction.
This information was taken from Nebraska AG-News© Magazine, Summer 2010 Issue.

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