Every horse owner needs an horse first aid kit. Actually you need two or three. One for the barn, one for the truck and a mini kit for trail rides. A store bought first aid kit is a good place to start, but in reality they are too small and sorely lacking in the medications you really need on hand.
Store bought equine first aid kits are often so skimpy it makes me wonder if the creators have ever dealt with a horse emergency or wound care. You can build a better kit for less money.
Because you never know when or where you'll be when your horse gets hurt, you'll want the supplies needed to treat your horse until you can get them to a veterinarian. You'll also want to have the items on hand to manage wound care after your vet has treated the animal.
You will find there are many instances that you can care for your horse without the need of a vet if you have a proper first aid kit.
One of the first things you're going to need is a sturdy zippered duffle bag to hold all of your supplies, most of which are bulky. A canvas duffle with handles is preferred over a plastic bin because it can easily be carried to the horse, wherever they may be.
If your store bought kit comes with a small plastic case, use it to hold all of your cotton bandage pads.
It stands to reason that your your largest and most complete first aid kit will be kept at the barn. It is likely to grow more complete over time. This is a well rounded list of supplies for a practical horse emergency care kit.
Of course you can certainly add to the first aid kit you keep in your truck. With limited space you may not have room for a large kit. You will at least want these basic supplies. Small canvas duffle bags and ammo cases make great storage containers for the first aid kit in your truck.
Ammo cases are especially good space savers for the horse truck. Use one for your first aid kit and one for mechanic tools. They fit nicely behind the seat.
Since I can't reach through your computer screen and force you to put together a horse first aid kit before you need it, I thought I'd share this little story in hope that it will inspire you to take action.
About 10:00 one morning I stepped out into the corral to fill the water trough and check on the horses, only to find one of our mares had torn up her left back leg. From the hock down her leg was swollen twice it's size. The cannon was a mess with torn flesh, blood and mud... a gut wrenching site indeed.
Immediately I made a phone call to get a vet to come out and treat her wounds. It so happens only one of our three large animal veterinarians was available. He was unable to leave the clinic, but they would be happy to have me bring my mare in.
Now I was really in a bind. You see, I had two horse trailers sitting in my yard and no means to pull them. One truck was in for repairs and my husband had the other truck at work. The gal on the other end of the phone informed me that my horse was not considered an emergency. The vet could come out to treat her after hours about 6:30 that evening.
To add insult to injury I did not even own a horse first aid kit. Me, with a degree in Animal Health Technology, with no emergency care kit in place! That's what you call "Getting caught with your pants down." Unthinkably stupid.
As luck would have it, a very good friend of mine who lives out of the area just happened to call me as she was in town. 15 minutes later she was in my front yard with her horse first aid kit. After hosing the leg to reduce the swelling we cleaned, medicated and bandaged the leg with her supplies.
I never did have the vet come out. The leg healed so well you can not tell it was ever injured. But I learned a huge lesson. I got a lucky break, that time. That was a wake up call for me. Now I have three well stocked horse first aid kits. And I have used them. And I am grateful that I have them on hand.
So just don't let yourself be caught off guard. It's a helpless terrible feeling, especially when it's your horse on the line. Next time you go the the feed store; stop and take a moment to grab some of the supplies on this list. Even if you only start with vet wrap, nitrofuazone and a tube of AperEaze, it's a start. Just do it.
Whether you have any experience with wound management or not, I highly recommend you buy yourself a book on horse first aid. A good book will walk you through the steps you need to take until you can get your equine to the vet. One use and the book will more than pay for itself.
Here is a great article I ran across: Wild Fires and Horses. Stay safe out there.
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