Anyone who has ever spent anytime looking after a horse or pony will know that they are one of the most accident prone and incident-vulnerable animals you can own! It’s “Murphy’s Law” that if it can happen it will happen, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared with a well-equipped medical kit, all ready to treat those inevitable minor injures that crop up from time to time.
Firstly, find a secure box you can store everything in. It needs a tight fitting lid to keep everything free of dirt and dust. Next, stick the details including the telephone number of your horse’s vet to that lid. There’s nothing worse than having to scroll through numbers in your phone directory when you are having a minor panic – make it easy for yourself.
Next, stock up! We’ve compiled a list of what we think will cover most minor medical eventualities. It should be said at this point that this first aid kit is intended only for immediate, emergency action or for dealing with small cuts and scrapes, not for dealing with major injuries or illnesses. If in doubt, call your vet – the number’s on the lid!
In the box!
- Ready-to-use poultice eg Animalintex to draw out impurities within the wound
- Clean towel
- Large roll of cotton wool
- Gamgee – cotton wool sandwiched between two layers of gauze for padding beneath bandages and large scissors for cutting it to size
- Small pair of tweezers
- A selection of bandages including self adhesive like Vetrap, stretch cotton and adhesive bandages such as Elastoplast. Any bandage should be applied over either gamgee, cotton wool wrapped around the leg, or a padded leg wrap, carefully applied to prevent pressure points
- Some antiseptic/antibiotic sprays such as Aluspray or purple spray to prevent infection without damaging tissue
- Pack of sterile saline solution for flushing wounds
- A roll of electrical insulating tape 2cm wide for securing bandages and poultice onto feet
- A roll of black PVC tape or silver duct tape
- Petroleum jelly eg Vaseline to help insert the thermometer. Also protects soft tissues from soreness and chafing.
- Disinfectant for cleaning wounds
- Wound powder to prevent new infection from entering the wound
- Anti-bacterial scrub eg Hibiscrub
- Antiseptic swabs to enable to wound to be cleaned even without access to a water supply.
- Thermometer: Attach a string with a clip and make sure you don’t lose the thermometer by attaching it to the horse’s tail.
- A head torch for inspecting wounds close up or in the dark
A few other things worth considering are keeping a couple of first aid boxes to hand – one in the tack room, and one in the horsebox for when you are travelling. Make sure you replace items from your kit as and when you use them; keep your horse’s tetanus vaccinations up to date so there is not a panic over every small cut or scrape; and, consider putting the numbers of your insurance company and horse transporter in the box, too.
Do you have anything else in your first aid kit that you couldn’t live without? Share it with us here!