First aid kits needn't be elaborate. Keep these emergency first aid kit items in a sturdy box for unexpected horse injuries or illness. You don't need to keep a stock of injectable or oral medications. Unless you are very experienced with reading symptoms medications may mask important indicators your veterinarian will need to diagnose a problem. They are best administered only with veterinarian supervision. The items in a horse first aid kit should help you take care of the most common problems you can deal with yourself, and help you cope with any injury until the veterinarian arrives.
A thermometer will quickly tell you if your horse has an elevated temperature--a sure sign of a health problem that needs attention. I prefer digital over mercury as I don't need my reading glasses or a watch to get an accurate reading. Some models save the last temperature taken, should you forget to write it down. A string and clip feature will help prevent the thermometer getting 'lost'.
You'll find antiseptic wound cleaners such as Hibitane, Betadine or Novalsan scrubs are useful for washing skin infections, cuts and punctures.
A pair of sharp scissors is essential in a horse first aid kit. If you have wire fences there is a chance your horse could get entangled. Keep a pair of wire or bolt cutters (Compare Prices) handy. These can also be used to remove a very loose shoe.
Keep a clean set of leg wraps handy for emergencies. Since you want them to be clean and ready, have an extra set of stable wraps in your horse first aid kit, other than those you might be using for non-emergency use.
Use for padding under leg wraps or cut up for wound dressing:
- Gamgee cloth.
- Disposable diapers (although they are not breathable).
- Gauze diapers (Compare Prices).
- Leg cottons used under stable wraps work as well. The cottons must be kept clean so seal an extra set in a zip closure bag for your first aid kit.
In fact, zip closure bags are very handy for keeping your horse's first aid kit organized.
What did we do before the availability of these stretchy self-sticking bandages? They seem to have so many uses around the stable. In a first aid situation use to keep a dressing in place, or help support stable wraps. There are lots of different name brands such as VetWrap, Co-Flex and others. I'm able to find rolls at local flea markets very inexpensively. There will be little difference between the ones you buy at the tack shop, and the ones you can buy at the pharmacy, so chose the ones you can afford.
7. Zinc Oxide Cream
I keep a big tub in my horse first aid kit to soothe and protect sunburned noses, help clear up grease heel, and protect and heal minor cuts and nicks. You can find zinc oxide creams in the baby care section of your drugstore. My favorite is called Ilhes Paste, a product that is inexpensive and effective.
Epsom salts are great for drawing out infection. I often use good old salt water to wash out cuts and scrapes on both four legged and two legged family members. Both are inexpensive items you can buy at the grocery, pharmacy or bulk food store.
Nicks, cuts and scrapes can be encouraged to heal by keeping the skin moist and clean. There is a wide variety of products available. Choose all natural products or products containing various medicinal and antibiotic ingredients.
There are lots of great veterinary first aid books on bookstore shelves. Buy one and read it before an emergency happens. Another book youll want is a small notebook to keep track of temperatures or write down things you want to tell the vet and may forget in your worry. Keep both books in your first aid kit with your vets number written on the covers. Of course, keep your veterinarians number near the phone as well.