Horses are magnificent animals, but sometimes you have to play doctor to your equine friends. Here are all the things you’ll need in a good first-aid kit.
Keeping your horse healthy takes more than just feeding them the right food, ensuring they get enough exercise, and properly grooming them. The pasture can be cause for concern when it comes to your horse’s health. Your horse could sustain an injury from a well-placed kick from another horse. They could come in with scratches from rubbing against a nail in the fence line you didn’t know about.
What Goes In My First-Aid Kit?
While keeping your vet on speed dial, it’s also an excellent idea to learn some basic first-aid. Sometimes that is all you need to doctor your horse yourself. You need to have a first-aid kit in your barn to treat these minor injuries right away. You can create your own barn first-aid kit. Find a dry corner of your tack room or keep it on a shelf so it is always nearby.
Store your first-aid supplies in an airtight, waterproof container so that everything stays sterile. Both large fishing tackle boxes and sewing boxes have multiple small compartments, and they fit perfectly inside a big plastic tote with a lid. Make sure you mark the box with a big red cross by using red tape. The red cross is a universal sign of medical equipment.
Next, stock your barn first-aid kit with the following items at a bare minimum:
- A plastic, digital rectal veterinary thermometer
- Safety scissors (the ones with the rounded ends)
- Small, sharp scissors good for removing sutures
- A stethoscope
- Self-sticking bandages
- 3″ x 3″ Gauze squares or larger
- Lubricating jelly, such as Vaseline
- Medical adhesive tape
- Kling or similar gauze bandages
- Cold packs or “instant cold packs” if you don’t have room for traditional ones in the freezer
- Sterile bandages and quilts of all sizes
- Antiseptic wound cream, such as yellow Furacin ointment
- Spray-on wound treatment, such as Furazolidone
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Antiseptic scrub like Betadine
- Latex gloves
- Saline solution
- A roll of sterile cotton
- Alcohol swabs
- Rubbing alcohol
- Forceps and tweezer
- Epson salts
- Iodine shampoo (ask your vet for recommendations)
- Hot or cold quick-to-apply poultices
- Thick sanitary napkins to apply direct pressure to bleeding wounds
- A hoof pick, hoof knife, and hoof tester
- Farrier’s rasp and nippers
- Duct tape
- Clean fly mask to protect injured eyes
- A poultice boot to cover hoof injuries
- Clean buckets for first-aid use only
- Snakebite kit
- Wound cream with fly repellant
- Diaper rash cream
- Tail wrap
- Spider bandage (practice using these on a healthy horse first)
- Material for a splint and training from your vet to use it
Consider adding a flashlight to your first-aid kit. If you have to bandage up your horse in the middle of the night, your flashlight will help. You won’t waste your phone battery using the one on your cell phone to see in the barn. Put an expiration date on your first-aid kit so you know when to swap out expired items. Also, keep a notebook so you can write down what you’ve used and replace it immediately.
If you need to keep equine medication in your first-aid kit or your barn, make sure it is kept in the recommended environment. Keep it safe from prying eyes. Also, keep a small first-aid booklet in the barn. Make sure you know how to do a physical exam on your horse. Finally, keep a medical record for each horse in your barn where it is easy to find just in case of an emergency.
Don’t Forget The Human First-Aid Kit
One last note about first-aid kits for your barn: purchase a pre-made first-aid kit from your local drugstore for the humans that work in the barn. You never know when a scratch or sting will happen. With a human first-aid kit in the barn, you can treat those wounds right away.
What do you keep in your barn first-aid kit? Tell us in the comments below.