Being prepared for any emergency when riding, caring for, and owning a horse is one part of responsible ownership. Here are some important items to be kept in your horse emergency first aid kits.
Horse Emergency First Aid Kit
Gauze pads of different sizes
Sharp scissors (with a case to cover tips if possible)
Steel cup or container (for mixing)
Thermometer (digital or glass is acceptable)
Flashlight and batteries
Permanent marker pen (black)
Pliers (for pulling nails)
6-inch diameter PVC tubing cut in half the long way. Lengths of 1 ½ – 2 feet (for
Keep your kit in a separate latching box (preferably metal) and clearly marked.
Tips for Helping the Injured Horse
The most important part of caring for an injured horse in an emergency is to remain calm. By staying calm you can keep the injured horse more calmed and make working with them easier.
By on the spot emergency treatment owners can prevent further damage and speed healing of wounds and other injuries.
Once you have caught and calmed the horse it is important to get them to their stall or a paddock that is familiar to them. This will help to keep the horse calmer.
It will be necessary for you to get help before you evaluate or treat a wound on an injured horse. You need someone to hold your horse during evaluation and treatment. However, a rider who is also injured cannot help a horse so it will be the rider’s responsibility to get the appropriate amount of help.
Check the location, depth and severity of the wound. Call the veterinarian for recommendations or if you believe that his assistance will be needed. Some tips for when to call your vet are:
There is excessive bleeding
The entire skin thickness is penetrated
The wound is over or near a joint
Any structures under the skin are visible, such as, muscle tissue
A puncture wound that is straight into the flesh
A severe wound in the lower leg or below the knee or hock.
Be sure the veterinarian gives you clear instruction for cleaning and clearing any debris from the wound. Do not remove penetrating objects if you are not experienced, as it may cause severe bleeding. Stabilize objects if they are located in the wounds, this will keep movement of the object from occurring while waiting for the veterinarian to arrive.
Stop bleeding by covering the wound and applying firm steady pressure. Always use sterile pads when applying pressure to an open wound.
Do not medicate or tranquilize your horse unless the veterinarian gives you instructions to do so.
Eye injuries are some of the hardest areas for novice owners to treat. Do not use ointment that is not clearly prescribed for the condition or injury being treated at this time.
If there is a nail or sharp object in the horse hoof, clean the hoof and consult the veterinarian before removing the nail. If advised, carefully remove the nail to prevent the horse from stepping on it and driving it deeper into the hoof. As you remove the nail mark the exact depth of entry with tape or the permanent marker so the veterinarian can assess the extent of damage. Apply antiseptic to the wound and wrap to prevent additional contamination.
Not all horses being treated for lacerations or puncture wounds require a tetanus booster if they have had one within 6 months of the injury.
May accidents are preventable by taking the time to evaluate the horse’s environment and removing potential hazards. Alls assess your own management routines to make them safer. Make feed changes gradually to lessen the risk of colic. Mentally rehearse your emergency action plan just as you would the emergency plan at home. Keep the veterinarian’s phone number on the stall door and in your emergency equine first aid kit. Keep in mind that your horse’s health and well-being depend on you being organized and having as much knowledge as possible.