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First Aid

First Aid Kit info:
It is important to keep the first aid kit near the horse, like the tack room or feed barn in a sealed container. A plastic bucket with top works well or large plastic box but be sure to mark it Horse First Aid Kit.
Remember Prevention is the key to stopping emergencies before they occur. Check your horse's stall and turn out area for wire, nails and sharp edges. Move horses that like to bite each other etc ., provide a safe and clean environment.

The Basic Kit:
The basic contents: The following list constitutes the basic recommended contents of your first aid kit. These items can be obtained from you local pharmacy and tack shop and should be used for emergencies only.

Antibiotic ointment: A tube of good quality antibiotic ointment like Betadine will provide protection against bacterial infection and can be used for minor wounds.

Antiseptic cleaner: In cases where dirt has accumulated in wounds, an antiseptic liquid scrub like Betadine is highly advisable.

Leg bandages: Bandages for horses can be bought at any tack shop.

Disposable Diapers: Keep one or two disposable diapers in your first-aid kit. These diapers are extremely absorbent and can be used to apply pressure to lacerations and stop bleeding.

Sterile gauze pads: Different sizes of sterile gauze pads are useful to cover abscesses and lesions of the skin.

Sharp kitchen knife: A sharp kitchen knife can be used to cut ropes, diapers and bandages in an emergency.

Scissors: A good pair of scissors can be used to cut bandages, plasters and cloth.

Pliers: A pair of pliers can be used to cut wires and to remove thorns and many foreign objects from hooves.

Tweezers: To remove splinters and smaller objects.

Cotton wool: In most cases you will have to swab wounds. Always keep cotton wool covered with plastic to prevent dust and sand accumulating in the fibers.

Wound powder: Available at your tack shop, ask for the best.

Wound spay: It is always good to keep either Terramycin or Necrospray handy for minor wounds.

Stainless steel bowl: A small stainless steel bowl comes in handy when you have to prepare antiseptic solutions or to sterilize instruments.

Surgical Gloves: Wear surgical gloves not to contaminate any wounds with bacteria.

A sponge: A small sponge can be used to run cold water over sprains when a hosepipe is not available. It can also be used to clean wounds with larger quantities of water.

Surgical gauze: In order to treat deeper wounds, surgical gauze will be required.

A Thermometer: This inexpensive instrument is invaluable during day-to-day horse care. Use the thermometer to check your horse’s temperature on a regular basis. The normal temperature of a horse is between 37.8 – 38°C, anything higher, and may be sure your horse has a problem. Temperature is taken via the anus.

The items described above should be regarded as a basic first-aid kit and that it should be used to treat superficial wounds only. Your horse may have specific requirements that may have to be catered for, in which case it is recommended that you add those items to your kit. Always remember that your horse relies on you for its care and maintenance and that you should be equipped in such a manner that you can provide emergency treatment, at least up to the point when the veterinarian arrives.

The following suggestions should be viewed as guidelines:

1. Catch and calm your horse to prevent further injury. Move the horse to a stall or other familiar surroundings if this is possible without -causing distress or further injury to the horse. Providing hay or grain can also be a good distraction.

2. Get help before attempting to treat or evaluate a wound. It can be difficult and very dangerous to try and inspect or clean a wound without someone to hold the horse. You cannot help your horse if you are seriously injured yourself

3. Evaluate the location, depth, and severity of the wound. Call your veterinarian for a recommendation anytime you feel your horse-is in need of emergency care. Here are some examples of situations where your Vet should be called:

A. There appears to be excessive bleeding
B. The entire skin thickness has been penetrated.
C. The wound occurs near or over a joint.
D. Any structures underlying the skin are visible.
E. A severe wound has occurred in the lower leg or below knee or hock level.
G. The wound is severely contaminated

4. Consult with your veterinarian regarding a recommendation before you attempt to clean the wound or remove debris or penetrating objects, as you may precipitate uncontrollable bleeding or do -further damage Io the wound. Large objects should be stabilized to avoid damaging movement if possible. Don't put anything on the wound except a compress or cold water.

5. Stop the bleeding (This may be the FIRST step, if the bleeding is profuse!) by covering the wound with a sterile, absorbent pad (not cotton), applying firm, steady, even pressure to the wound.

6. Do not medicate or tranquilize the horse unless specifically directed by your veterinarian, If the horse has suffered severe blood loss or shock, the administration of certain drugs can be life-threatening.

7. If the eye is injured or looks cloudy, do not attempt to treat- Await your veterinarian.

8. If a horse steps on a nail or other sharp object, and it remains embedded in the hoof, first clean the hoof Consult with your veterinarian regarding a recommendation before you remove the nail. If your veterinarian advises, carefully remove the nail to prevent the horse from stepping on it and driving it deeper into the hoof cavity. As you remove it, be sure to mark the exact point and depth of entry with tape and/or a marker so the veterinarian can access the extent of the damage. Apply antiseptic to the wound, and wrap to prevent additional contamination.

9. All horses being treated for lacerations or puncture wounds will require a tetanus booster.

Other Emergencies

There are far too many types of emergencies - from heat stroke to hyperkinetic periodic paralysis, bone fractures to snake bits, foaling difficulties, to colic - to adequately cover them all. However, regardless of the situation, it's important to remember these points:

1. Keep the horse as calm as possible. Your own-calm behavior will help achieve this.

2. Move the animal to a safe area where it is unlikely to be injured should it go down.

3. Get someone to help you, and delegate responsibilities, such as calling the Veterinarian, retrieving the first aid kit, holding the horse, etc.

4. Notify your Veterinarian immediately- Be prepared to-provide specific information about the horse's condition, as mentioned above, and other data that will help your practitioner assess the immediacy of the danger and instruct you in how to proceed.

5. Listen closely and follow your equine practitioner's instructions.

6. Do not administer drugs, especially tranquilizers or sedatives, unless specifically instructed to do so by the Veterinarian.

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