Equine first-aid kit essentials: what you really need

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  • 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 The contents should be replaced as they are used or go out of date, so it is helpful to keep a list of what’s inside attached to the inside of the lid.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

    Clean towel

    Disposable gloves

    Large roll of cotton wool

    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

    Wound gel, such as Derma Gel, IntraSite gel or Vetalintex

    Non-stick dressings – for example, Melolin

    Gamgee and large sharp scissors for cutting it to size

    A selection of bandages including:

    A roll of electrical insulating tape approximately 2cm wide

    A roll of wide black PVC tape or silver duct tape

    Petroleum jelly e.g Vaseline

    Small pair of tweezers

    Digital thermometer

    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:

    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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