10 Must-Haves for Your Horse First Aid Kit
Are you wondering what to put in your barn’s horse first aid kit? Accidents happen, especially with horses, and it’s important to be prepared. These 10 items will help you put together a well-rounded first aid kit that will handle most emergencies.
- Thermometer: If your horse is sick or injured, your vet may ask you to take his temperature. While you can buy a fancy horse thermometer, any mercury or digital thermometer will do. If you want to be fancy, tie a string to it so that if it gets sucked into the horse’s anus (yes, that can happen), it’ll be easier to recover.
- Stethoscope: When your vet asks you to take vitals, he may also ask for your horse’s pulse or breathing rate. The easiest way to take either one is with a stethoscope. You don’t need a fancy one or one that comes from a horse supply store. Any inexpensive stethoscope will do.
- Banamine: Another must-have in your horse first aid kit is Banamine, a pain reliever and muscle relaxer. While this drug can be given for soft-tissue pain, your vet may also ask you to give some to buy some time in the event of a colic. Most likely you’ll have to purchase Banamine from your vet.
- Betadine: If you’re looking at a simple wound, you may choose to clean and care for it on your own, or you might want to clean it yourself to assess the damage before calling the vet. Betadine is an iodine-based scrub that many horse owners use for cleaning wounds.
- Wound ointment: If you’re caring for a small wound at home, you’ll want to keep it clean and protect it. One of the things you’ll want to keep on hand for these occasions is a wound ointment. Any antibiotic ointment will do.
- Gauze bandages: You can buy gauze in squares as well as rolls, and should have both on hand to bandage any type of wound. Gauze is usually used underneath a self-sticking bandage as the layer that comes in contact with the wound.
- Self-sticking bandages: To hold the gauze in place, you’ll need self-sticking bandages. Vetrap is a stretchy, colorful bandage that sticks to itself and can be found in most horse first aid kits, but it will likely need some help staying put. Elastikon is an effective but expensive top layer, but even duct tape can be used to keep Vetrap in place.
- Scissors: If you forget to include scissors in your horse first aid kit, you’ll realize your mistake the first time you have to apply a bandage! Blunt-tipped bandage scissors are best for removing bandages from legs without causing further injury.
- Tourniquet: A tourniquet may be useful if your horse gets a leg wound that is bleeding a lot or if you live in an area where snakebite is a risk.
- Pieces of garden hose: If snakebite is a risk, it’s always a good idea to include a couple short lengths of garden hose. If a horse is bitten on the nose, you may need to insert the pieces of hose into his nostrils by a few inches to keep them from swelling shut.
Find yourself a plastic storage container, put these items in it, and you have yourself a starter horse first aid kit. Over time you will likely add to it as you encounter different types of emergencies, so don’t limit yourself to a small container or a store-bought kit.