Your Horse’s First Aid Kit Checklist: Horse Owner Essentials To Have In Case Of Emergency
Horses can suddenly fall ill or get injured at unexpected times, whether you’re riding on a trail, out on the road for a competition, or even just around the stable. Armed with a fully furnished first-aid kit and a basic understanding of equine first aid, you can be prepared for minor injuries, acute illnesses, and medical emergencies. You might even save your horse’s life one day.
Keep your horse’s first aid kit in a cool, dry place in the barn. You may want to keep a more compact version of it for travel.
What You’ll Need To Take Your Horse’s Temperature
A healthy horse’s temperature is about 99 to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, though it’s normal to see a slightly higher number immediately after exercise. A temperature of 102 degrees or higher indicates a fever.
Oral and rectal thermometers are one and the same. A thermometer designed for humans will also work for your horse.
Along with your horse’s dedicated thermometer, make sure to store a small tube of Vaseline or other lubricant, some latex gloves, and alcohol pads to sterilize before and after use.
Taking Your Horse’s Pulse
It’s a good idea to take your horse’s pulse from time to time to get to know their normal resting heart rate. A normal resting heart rate for a horse is about 40 beats per minute. Athletic horses tend to have a slower resting heart rate. An increased heart rate is normal after exercise and should return to normal after a few minutes. An unexpectedly high heart rate can indicate dehydration, heat stroke, infection, stress, a respiratory problem, or a heart issue.
A stethoscope makes it easier to check your horse’s pulse. You can also use a stethoscope to check for gut sounds. Your horse’s intestines are always at work digesting forage. A decrease in normal gut sounds can indicate dehydration, while more intense sounds that remind you of a rushing faucet can indicate diarrhea or colic.
Horse First Aid For Wounds
Horses are prone to getting nicks and cuts on sharp edges and branches around the stable and on the trails. Keep supplies on-hand so you can sterilize and wrap wounds to stop bleeding and prevent infection until your veterinarian can see your horse for additional care, if needed.
HemaBlock Powder stops bleeding, even when used on large wounds.
NFZ Wound Dressing prevents infections in wounds.
Ichthammol has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and can be used as a drawing salve. It’s great for treating bug bites, drawing infection out of a hoof crack, and protecting small abrasions from infection.
3M Vetrap Bandaging Tape sticks to itself, making it an essential for wrapping wounds.
It’s a good idea to keep a selection of bandages and gauze to wrap wounds on various areas of your horse’s body. You can also use sanitary pads and/or diapers as a padded, absorbent covering for leg and hoof wounds.
Scissors with a blunt end can be used to cut bandages and can also be used to remove strings, weeds, or anything your horse might get tangled up in.
Quick Checklist Of Horse First Aid Kit Essentials:
- Weight tape, may be needed to administer appropriate doses of medications
- Over-the-counter NSAIDs and antihistamines
- Extra halter and lead rope
- Digital Thermometer
- Latex Gloves
- Alcohol Wipes
- Scissors and/or pocket-knife
- Tweezers to remove ticks and thorns
- Wound disinfectant ointment
- Gauze, bandages, and other wound padding
- Self-adhesive bandaging tape
- Eye wash or saline to rinse wounds and remove debris from eyes
- A compact equine first aid guidebook
- Important phone numbers, including your vet’s regular and emergency contact numbers