Sunday, May 19, 2013

Horses - First Aid Kits

Always Be Prepared!

Being prepared is important in all aspects of our life. Whether it be carrying a spare tire and an extra can of oil in your car or truck to have the right things you may need in a horse emergency, being prepared is important.

Having a well stocked Animal First Aid Kit is essential when owning livestock.

As for horses, every horse owner needs a few basic first aid essentials. A good First Aid Kit will keep you from wasting time from having to search for needed items and supplies when your horse is sick or injured.

These items will help you dress wounds, reduce swelling and inflammation, and more.
Although some say the items in your First Aid Kit should only be used for emergencies, I use my First Aid Kit regularly. I just make sure I re-stock it after I use something in it.

The other thing that I do is check the items for expiration dates and replace them as needed. For me, since I stopped traveling with my horses, I don't worry about having a duplicate First Aid Kit in my horse trailer anymore.

Since a horse injury can occur at any time, in any location, keep at least a basic first aid kit in your barn, truck or travel trailer. Especially if you travel a lot, I suggest you do just that and keep a kit in your truck or trailer where it is easily accessible.

And yes, like the kit you keep in your barn or stable - update and re-stock it as needed.

Here are some suggestions of what to have on hand in your kits:
  • Phone numbers: List your veterinarian, an emergency clinic. emergency contacts for assistance, and/or your shoer.
  • Pocket knife
  • Scissors
  • Hoof Pick  
  • Tweezers
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Epsom Salts
  • Disposable syringes for flushing woulds
  • Sterile non-stick gauze dressing pads
  • Sterile non-stick gauze rolls
  • Self-sticking wrap
  • Self-sticking bandage
  • Bandage pins
  • Adhesive tape
  • Duct tape
  • Vetrap
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Iodine
  • SWAT® Fly Repellent (for use around wounds to help repel insects)
  • Bute
  • Betadine 
  • Icthmmol
  • Wound ointment
  • Wound powder  
  • Disposable shaving razors
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Clean towel
Helpful First Aid extras:

The best first aid kit holds a range of products to deal with a wide variety of injuries or accidents. In addition to the basics, however, having the following products accessible will help you further prepare for almost any mishap: 
  • Buckets - soak hooves and more with a few buckets kept specifically for first aid use.
  • Flashlight - view wounds and injuries in darkness or poor light conditions.
  • Ice Packs - prevent and reduce swelling with Ice Cells.
  • PVC Pipes - cut 6" diameter piping in half lengthwise and then into 1-1/2 to 2 foot sections for use as an emergency splint.
  • Sheet or Roll Cotton - help apply pressure bandages or offer support to injured muscles or bones.
  • Surgical Gloves - keep your hands clean and help prevent wound contamination.
  • Thermometer - measure your horse's temperature (normal range is 99.0°F to 101°F) with a fast and accurate digital thermometer.
  • Electrolytes - help hydrate your hard-working horse with an electrolyte paste.
  • Eye Cleanser - flush away dirt and debris from sensitive eyes with Eye Clens® or Clear Eyes.
  • Fly Mask - protect face wounds and eyes from insects.
  • Hoof Boot - treat abscesses and sore feet with a convenient boot kit, such as the HOOFix Kit or HOOFix Emergency Trail Boot, or a Bell Boot.
  • Medicated Shampoo - kill bacteria and fungi on your horse's skin and coat with a iodine-based shampoo.
  • Twitch - keep your horse's attention while wounds are tended with a twitch.
First aid tips
Accidents and injuries can turn even the calmest horse owner into a frazzled mess.

What your horse needs most when he suffers any injury or wound is for you to remain calm and focused on getting your horse the help he needs.

Should you ever need to use your First Aid Kit, keep the following tips in mind: 
  • Stay Calm - you can better help your horse when you're calm and collected.
  • Call for Help - an additional pair of hands will get more done faster.
  • Stay Safe - you won't be able to help your horse if you get hurt trying to help him.
  • Wash Your Hands - avoid contaminating any wound by first washing your hands and then wearing latex or rubber gloves.
When any injury occurs, the key is to act quickly and smartly.

To best ensure your horse is on the road to recovery as fast as possible, know where your First Aid Kit is at all times.

In fact, show anyone who has access to your barn, or your trailer or truck where you keep your first aid kit.

If you are using a plastic tool box as your First Aid Kit, be sure to mark your First Aid Kit with a cross fashioned out of red tape or a bright red permanent marker - signaling its contents to everyone.
A First Aid Kit should be considered a necessity - not a luxury. The items listed should prepare you for most emergency situations until a veterinarian arrives.     

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