When you have an injured or ill horse, the last thing you want to do is run around the farm looking for the supplies you need. Putting together a first-aid kit now and storing it in an easily accessible place will make it easier to deal with emergencies when they happen.
You have the choice to build your own first aid kit or buy ready-made kits (see “Buy a Ready-Made First Aid Kit”). Purchasing a ready-made kit is an easy solution, but many barn owners prefer to assemble their own. Creating your own kit may save you money and allows you to tailor the kit to your needs.
• halter and lead rope
• bandage scissors and regular scissors
• fencing tool/bolt/wire cutter, to free the horse from a fence or remove wire or twine that’s wrapped around a leg
• Flashlight, in case the power is out or you need more light to thoroughly examine wounds
• antiseptic wound wash
• antiseptic cream/ointment
• antiseptic spray
• hydrogen peroxide (for flushing deep puncture wounds)
• Betadine solution/scrub (for cleaning surface wounds and cuts and for soaking hoof injuries)
• vet-wrap, or other self-adhesive, stretchy wrap
• stable/polo wraps
• gauze pads, good for covering injuries before wrapping or for applying wound ointment if you don’t have gloves handy
• bandaging tape
• cotton wrap
• plastic wrap
• menstrual pads (can be used in place of gauze pads on top of wounds)
• Epsom salts
• hoof pick
• hoof knife
• shoe puller
• hoof boots
• phenylbutazone (bute)
• acepromazine (Ace)
• syringe and needles
Talk to your veterinarian before administering any of the above medications since they may mask symptoms.
• vital information chart. List normal temperature, pulse, respiration and capillary refill times in case you forget while panicked.
• veterinarian contact information
• your contact information. Put your cell phone number next to the veterinarian’s contact information. That way, if someone else at your barn is dealing with the emergency, he/she will know how to reach you.
• horse owner information. If you don’t keep a list of horses and their owners in your kit, then include the location of this information so that if someone else must handle an emergency, he/she can find the information and contact the horse’s owner(s).
• petroleum jelly
• chemical cold pack
• latex or rubber gloves
• duct tape
• saline solution/eye wash. Talk to your veterinarian before washing the horse’s eye or administering eye medications. He/she may want to examine your horse first.
• towels and/or baby wipes
• clippers with #40 blade:
• fly repellent
• electrolyte paste
• heated water bucket, to warm water before washing your horse or soaking his hoof in cold climates
• clean bucket, used only for treating wounds/injuries; you may need to mix up medications, dilute medicated shampoo, or soak injured/abscessed hooves.