The Back Yard First Aid kit
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Short of bubble wrapping your horses… it is not a question of IF but WHEN they will get hurt… if you own horses long enough… it is inevitable! So… what are the items you should have on hand in your first aid kit?
Here are my go items that I feel are essential! You can purchase all of these items from Amazon using the links below for just over $100.00 and you will have well stocked kit that will last you if you have several horses like me… or just one very accident prone horse!
Wound cleaning is your essential first step to disinfect and remove any bacteria introduced into the wound. I like to use a Providone solution that is commonly used as a surgical scrub by many veterinarians. I follow that with Hydrogen peroxide. This now comes in a spray bottle which is much easier to apply on uncooperative patients.
The next essential item I have on hand is super glue. Yes… that is right… super glue! It is great for holding tissue together on small tears/ abrasions. I was first introduced to super glue as a first aid item working for a vet, who routinely used this for cat castrations! Yep… snip those testicles out, super glue the remaining tissues and these healed up like a charm. This works great on horses as well. I have used it for torn lips, noses, under chins and legs with good success. And since super glue dries out so quickly… these small vials in a 12 pack are perfect for keeping at the barn.
Wound Kote is a great antibacterial / anti fungal spray to put on wounds. I generally use this when the wound is not a draining wound and will not be wrapped. Another greats ointment is swat. Swat is an antibiotic type ointment that also has fly repellent in it. Great for summer sores/ minor cuts/ abrasions to promote healing and keep the flies out as well! Nustock is also a great ointment for healing a variety of wounds. When your wound starts healing well with the help of these ointments, you may start seeing proud flesh/ over growth/ over healing of the wound. For this I keep “>Preparation H on hand. Crazy right… but this stuff works miracles on proud flesh. In people is it used to reduce inflamed tissues and that is exactly what it does when applied on proud flesh.
If your wound is severe enough that it needs to be wrapped… you should have Non stick telfa pads on hand. These are fabulous for putting ointment on the pad and then applying directly to the wound. The telfa pad will not stick into the wound and cause more damage when changing the bandages. I then like to use “>brown gauze.. a thin cheesecloth type gauze that is very light and generally used as an initial wrap to hold your telfa pad in place. If the wound is on a leg or an area where more padding is needed to protect horse from hitting the injury, you can wrap some “>rolled cotton around the area.
We all know and love “>Vet wrap…. a definite staple in your first aid kit… self sticking and a multitude of uses! Fabulous for wrapping legs, tails, tack, stirrups, even yourself when needed and comes in a multitude of cool colors! Follow that with “>Duct tape! I use duct tape as a final securing piece of tape over vet wrap to give an extra hold. I use this for holding bandages up, by placing ½ the duct tape on your vet wrapped bandage and half on the horses hair. The other great use is for wrapping hooves to keep bandages on hooves or poultice/ soaks on your horses hoof. Also available in cool colors and helpful for a variety of barn repairs… and even garment malfunctions ( AKA ripped pants!).
I also generally keep “>newborn diapers on hand.. though my kids are well beyond the diaper stage! Why then you ask? Because… these are the perfect size for placing over horses hoofs to add padding, cushion and keep any medications on the foot. Be sure to apply vet wrap, then duct tape over the diaper to hold it in place! I once had a horse that stepped on a nail, I used “>Icthamol Drawing Salve which is essential to have for hoof injuries or abcess. Slather the hood with icthamol, and wrap with a new born diaper. Careful to only get the bottom of the hoof, as the icthamol will burn tissue at the hoof/ hairline.
Finally a good pair of “>bandage scissors are essential to have on had to remove or replace any bandages. When you have several layers to your bandage it is important to have sharp scissors, but ones that also have a blunt end to get down into the bandage without cutting your horse in the process.
Of course.. always remember to use good sense and call the vet when the injury is more severe than the common horseman can handle! Having these items in your first aid kit will keep you prepared for most minor injuries.
One more KEY thing I firmly believe every horse owner MUST have in their “bag of tricks” is Psyllium. No mater how careful you are about placing feed into feeders, buckets, over stall mats etc etc.. horses are grazing /foraging animals and they will eat off of the ground and they WILL ingest some amount of dirt or sand as they eat. Sand colic can then become common place and it is a painful ordeal for your horse. Get your horse on a regime of psyllium based on your horse and your environment. The two products I use are a Powdered Psyllium which is great if you are mixing with a bran mash or grain. If you don’t have time to mix… this Pelleted Psyllium product is convenient and easy to feed!
Wishing you healthy… happy horses! #CommissionsEarned