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First Aid Kit for Horses

Whether it’s playing, in conflicts with other dogs, or while out riding: horses are at risk of injury. In the case of minor injuries, however, the vet does not have to come straight away. Provided that horse owners and riders have a stable pharmacy.

A first aid kit belongs in every household and every car. This is not the case with horse stables, but here too it is advisable to keep a box or suitcase with medicines, bandages, and various aids in a dry place protected from direct sunlight. The so-called stable pharmacy can be bought as a complete set, but you can also put it together yourself. 

Measures in emergencies

Even the best stable pharmacy is useless if you don’t know what to do in an emergency. The following measures should be taken to heart in the three most common emergencies: 

  • Colic: Call the vet immediately. In the meantime, if possible, walk the horse, put on a light blanket as heat has a relaxing effect, offer water but no food, do not let it roll until the vet arrives.
  • Swollen leg: Examine leg for sores and cool with water. If a wound is visible: clean or disinfects and apply a cast-on bandage (cushion made of cotton wool for the hoof). Without a wound: put on a cooling bandage or apply the cooling gel.
  • The wound is not the same as a wound. It is important to check wounds for foreign objects, using blunt scissors to remove fur from the edges of the wound if necessary. Disinfect superficial wounds and apply wound healing ointment. Clean easily bleeding wounds with warm water (the blood cleans the wound). Stop heavy bleeding with a wound dressing, pressure bandage, or tie, for example with a cotton bandage that should be loosened every 15 minutes.

Good to know

  • Pulse: The pulse can be felt in the mandibular, metatarsal, or caudal arteries. At rest it is 28 to 44 beats per minute; with excitement and pain up to 120 beats and with maximum performance up to 240 beats.
  • Breathing: at rest, 8 to 16 breaths per minute; during exertion up to 120 breaths and at peak performance up to 150 breaths.
  • Temperature: normal between 37.2 and 38.2 degrees. Elevated temperature up to 38.5 degrees. Fever from 38.5 degrees. In foals about 0.3 degrees higher.

Disinfectants/ointments

  • disinfectants, for example, iodine solutions (Betadine solution, Vetisept ad us. vet.)
  • disinfectant soap
  • wound healing ointment
  • cooling ointment/cooling gel, acetic clay (only for non-open wounds)
  • attention: Ointments that are no longer needed or have expired should be disposed of at the vet!

Instruments and devices

  • Stainless, toothless tweezers
  • Stainless blunt scissors for removing hair from wound edges and exposing wounds, cutting bandages and swabs. With blunt scissors, there is less risk of injury if the horse shows defensive movements.
  • tick tongs
  • Flashlight (although this is now integrated into every smartphone).
  • Plastic syringe for wound treatment or medication administration. It is best to use 20 to 50-milliliter syringes so that there is room for a certain volume in the syringe.
  • clinical thermometer. Be sure to tie it to a string, otherwise, the thermometer could quickly disappear into the rectum due to the horse’s strong sphincter muscles, which would trigger a serious emergency.
  • hand brush
  • Siphon, PET bottle, or small squirt can to apply bandages and keep them moist
  • Hoof knife, hoof rasp, hoof pincer
  • Pliers to remove a nail that has entered the hoof
  • Optional: Farrier’s tool to remove broken shoes. However, this requires practice and prior knowledge.
  • Optional: stethoscope to listen to bowel sounds. This also requires practice and prior knowledge.

Dressing material

  • Bandage cotton rolls
  • elastic fixation bandages or self-adhesive bandages
  • sterile packed gauze/super/gauze swabs
  • Vet Hoof Bandage Tape
  • Disposable cooling bags or reusable cooling bags if there is a cooling compartment in the barn. Caution: Use only wrapped in a (clean) tea towel, otherwise local frostbite is possible. Do not put on open wounds.

Other tools

Some barn pharmacies also contain the following: 

  • inelastic cotton bandage
  • disposable gloves
  • disposable razor. However, caution is required here, as the horse’s defense reactions can cause cuts.
  • Plasters and Arnica globules for the rider
  • clean hand and tea towels

Important Contacts/Information

Name and phone number of the owner and an
emergency contact.

  • Name and telephone number of the veterinarian and farrier.
  • Optional: list with current vaccination status.

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