Every horse owner and stable yard should have an equine first-aid kit that contains the items most likely to be needed to treat a minor injury or deal with a major accident while waiting for your vet to arrive. But what are these must-have items? We bring you everything you need to know…
Items should be kept in a clean box with a secure lid, preferably in a relatively dust-free area, such as a cupboard. The contents should be replaced as they are used or go out of date, so it is helpful to keep a list of what’s inside attached to the inside of the lid.
It is also a good idea to have a list of useful telephone numbers — such as your vet, a horse transporter you can call on 24/7 and your insurance company.
Equine first-aid kit essentials
Clean bowl or bucket
Round-ended curved scissors for trimming hair from wound edges
Antibacterial scrub – for example, Hibiscrub
Packs of sterile saline — very handy when on the move
Ready-to-use poultice – for example, Animalintex
Non-stick dressings – for example, Melolin
Gamgee and large sharp scissors for cutting it to size
A selection of bandages including:
- Stretch cotton bandages e.g. Knit-Firm
- Adhesive bandages
- Elastic conforming self-adhesive bandages (vet wrap)
- Tubular bandage e.g. Tubigrip
- Synthetic orthopaedic bandage e.g. Soffban
- A set of stable bandages
A roll of electrical insulating tape approximately 2cm wide
Petroleum jelly e.g Vaseline
Small pair of tweezers
Poultice boot or piece of thick clean plastic suitable to wrap around an injured hoof
Paper and pencil
A bright torch for inspecting wounds in poor light – a head torch can be useful as it leaves your hands free
Additional items that are also useful to have to hand include:
- A length of baler twine
- Rope halter
- Hoof pick
- Shoe removal kit i.e. buffer, hammer, pincers, pliers
- Wire cutters
In certain circumstances, your vet may prescribe particular medicines that cannot be obtained over the counter for your first-aid kit. This may happen, for example, if your horse has a recurrent problem. If the vet feels confident in your ability to detect the early signs and that immediate treatment is beneficial, sufficient medication may be left with you so treatment can begin while a visit is being arranged. Medication should only be used for the horse for which it has been prescribed.
NB: Always ensure both you and your horses are fully vaccinated against tetanus, so there is not a panic over every tiny wound.
It’s useful to also keep an equine and human first-aid kit in your lorry or towing vehicle, so should your horse suffer an injury while away from home, you are able to deal with the situation promptly.
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