First aid supplies are items you hope you never have to use, but know you must invest in just in case of an emergency. Some first aid kits are more extensive than others, providing every single thing you could ever imagine to protect your horse and prevent him from further injury, while others provide only the most basic necessities to help you get by when a situation arises.
No matter what your horse’s job is; anything from a work horse to a show horse to a recreational family pet, you need to make sure your equine first aid kit has enough to handle cuts, sprains, and sudden sickness. Being properly prepared will reduce metal stress and physical strain on your horse, reducing his recovery time.
You need something that provides support when your horse sprains or hurts his legs or ankles. Most brands are simply supportive bandage material that adheres to itself and not onto your horse’s skin. These bandages come in a variety of colors and give firm support to weakened legs and ankles. Because they stick to themselves and do not absorb moisture, they stay in place easily and eliminate the need for old-fashioned bandage tape and pins.
Some bandage wraps are self-cooling. They use evaporation without any sort of external pre-cooling required. Instead of a disposable wrap, this material has water gelled into elastic foam.
Whether you choose to purchase a spray or wash disinfectant, you need something that will kill viruses and bacteria in any flesh or hoof wounds sustained by your horse. If your horse has sensitive skin, shop around for a product that will not irritate their skin with stinging pain.
In addition to cleaning and disinfecting surface injuries, you can use ointment to hydrate, nourish and protect the injury (a scrape, cut, or abrasion on the skin or hoof) until it makes a full recovery. Ointment is especially helpful with soothing dry or chapped hooves.
Hoof boots are incredibly helpful when you notice things like punctures and abscesses on your horse’s hoof. Because it covers the hoof, it allows you to soak it fully and reduce pressure on the hoof, reducing any pain and swelling. Some even stimulate blood circulation and help eliminate toxins from the area. Just like human boots, horse boots come in different sizes, so make sure each horse has one or two that will fit him.
Take your horse’s temperature as soon as you notice signs of overheating, dehydration, or sickness. Knowing their internal body temperature can help you decide what to do as far as cooling and dehydration.
In any emergency situation with a human or a horse, it is vital to keep everything as clean and sterile as possible. Using latex gloves as a barrier between the injured and the nurse helps prevent the spread of infections.
When your horse is dehydrated, electrolytes are the most efficient way to get key, essential nutrients back into his system so he can function normally and feel like himself again. Electrolytes come in pellet, paste and powder form. They type of equine electrolytes in your horse’s first aid kit depends on how easily he will eat or drink when he is not feeling well. Electrolytes are especially useful in keeping your horse’s health up while traveling on long-haul journeys. Because of the stress of the journey and odd timing, you horse may not feel like eating or drinking his normal amount. Electrolytes are not a complete nutritional substitute, but they will keep him hydrated with essential nutrients lost during transport and will cut down on recovery time upon arrival.
There are many other products to choose from for your horse’s first aid kit to keep him happy and healthy. Knowing exactly which ones to buy depends on the nature of your horse, his sensitivities, his regular activities, and his environment. The most important thing to remember when treating your horse is that first aid kits are only there to provide temporary solutions or treat only minor injuries. If your horse sustains a more serious injury or illness, get veterinary attention as soon as possible.