The Equine First Aid Kit
As every horse owner knows, it is essential to keep a well stocked equine first aid kit at the yard, ready for use in the case of an injury.
Even the most careful of us can end up having to administer first aid to everyday knocks and scrapes, so it is important to ensure that a simple equine first aid kit is never far away. Proper treatment will stop cuts and grazes from becoming infected and prevent injuries from worsening while waiting for the vet.
Vet, Chris Wright of Bushy Equine Clinic says it’s always best to be prepared. “When putting an equine first aid kit together, make a list of everything you require and tick it off as you go. This list will also come in handy when the kit is in everyday use – stick it to the top of the first aid box so you are always sure of the contents”. Ensuring you know the exact contents of a first aid kit is very useful, as you may need to find things in a hurry. Chris also stresses the importance of having your vet’s phone number to hand, “this should be kept inside your first aid box,” he says. “Keep both a surgery and mobile number, as well as other important contacts such as the doctors, farrier and insurers, as this will save you hunting around in an emergency”.
Stocking your Equine First Aid Kit – Spoilt for choice
With the huge choice of first aid and medical supplies now on offer, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Although there are many ready made kits available, it is just as easy to put together your own, or add a few extras to a shop bought kit. Chris recommends his top ten essentials, and no first aid kit should be without:
– Cotton wool – a 500g roll is best, and cheap to buy
– Anti-bacterial scrub eg. Hibiscrub
– Poultice – a ready to use brand such as Animalintex is often easiest
– Antiseptic wound cleaner and clear wound gel
– Sterile dressings – these will keep wounds clean and help them to heal
– Petroleum jelly – a tub of Vaseline is fine
– Bandages – the adhesive variety are best
– Scissors – preferably round ended. Keep these for use only with the first aid kit so they don’t introduce dirt
– A clean towel
Other things you might find useful…
– A roll of silver duct tape
– Baler twine
– A torch
– Nappies – yes this does sound strange, but they are great for emergency poulticing!
Storage solutions for your Equine First Aid Kit
First aid supplies should be kept in a solid box with a secure lid to stop the contents becoming contaminated with dust or dirt. The kit should be stored in an office or tackroom within easy reach of the yard, preferably somewhere clean and dry such as cupboards or shelves. It is important to ensure that items are always replenished after use to avoid getting caught out in an emergency and that anything with a sell-by date is replaced when necessary.
Know when to call the vet
Although practising first aid can be very beneficial, it is important to keep a close eye on any wounds and scrapes, and know when to call a vet.