How to care for horses – Part 6

first aid kit

First-aid kit

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 Any used or out-of-date items should be replaced as soon as possible.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.

The basic items any equine first-aid kit should include are:

  • 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
  • Cleaning supplies
    • 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)
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Veterinary medications – 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.
  • Other
    • 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.

To be continued ………..

Click here to read Part 1: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-1
Click here to read Part 2: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-2
Click here to read Part 3: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-3
Click here to read Part 4: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-4
Click here to read Part 5: /how-to-care-for-horses-part-5

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