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 Any used or out-of-date items should be replaced as soon as possible.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