What do I need in a basic Veterinary first aid kit for my horse?
I find that my vet kit is a dynamic structure - always changing when I toss expired items or when I add more, likely due to a quick trip to the drug store for some needed item. Usually at a late hour.
It's a great idea to rummage through your vet kit a few times a year to check for expired things, and maybe things that should be expired (anything that separates into layers is a good candidate for disposal, even before an expiration date.) Also be aware of temperatures - many items need refrigeration and/or can't take extreme cold or warm. No use in having meds if they are cooked or frozen!
I use a tool box that I found at a home improvement center for my Vet Kit. I store the larger items (bucket, boots, fly mask, in a larger trunk.)
Recommended Equine First Aid Kit Contents
- Thermometer - you must know your horse's normal temperature, and the rest of his TPR, too!
- Stethoscope - to listen to gut sounds and take a heart rate.
- Betadine solution and scrub - for wound cleaning.
- Saline - for wound flushing
- Big syringes (60 cc) - great to use for squirting wound cleaner into hard to reach places, also great to use to dose oral medications.
- Gauze pads/gauze roll - for wound bandaging.
- Non stick wound pad - to place just next to the wound, feminine pads work well also.
- Sheet cotton - for wrapping legs and packing hooves.
- Standing wraps and quilts - for support, prevention of stocking up, and keeping wounds clean.
- Elastic wound tape - such as Vet wrap or Elasticon for dozens of reasons!
- Waterproof tape - heavy duty tape great for securing small bandages.
- Bandage scissors - for scissoring. Safer than pointy scissors.
- Hoof Pick - because.
- Show Touch Up Spray - to mark emergency instructions on your horse.
- Pen/Pencils with note pad - to write down special instructions.
- Flashlight with batteries - because things usually happen at night.
Using corded clippers for a vet kit is better than a dead battery for your cordless! Also make sure your clipper blades are in top form.
- Clippers - some wounds need hair free areas for medication application.
- Disposable gloves - it's always messy.
- Shoe pulling equipment/tools - just in case.
- Diapers (~size 5) - great for wounds, packing hooves.
- Ice pack and heat packs- to reduce swelling. No freezer is complete without ice packs.
- Poultice - for hooves and for tendons.
- Needles and Syringes (aka "sharps") - to administer medications.
- Cotton balls - for small wound cleaning.
- Empty 5L fluid bag - for soaking hooves without the mess.
- Luggage tag - for emergency instructions, you can tie it into the mane.
- Electrolytes - I like the paste version in a pinch, it may not be safe for your horse to eat a meal with added electrolytes, the paste can be given at any time.
- Twitch - You can make one from bailing twine and a double ended snap. Make a loop of twine at one end of the snap, use that to twist your horse's nose. Clip the other end to his halter.
- Fly mask - for eye injuries, you want a clean mask to cover the injury.
- Bucket - for mixing wound cleaning solutions, you want a bucket without shampoo residue, horse food bit, and general barn dirt.
- Spider bandage - for strangely located wounds.
- Your favorite all purpose cream or ointment - like a diaper rash cream.
- Hoof boot - after a sprung shoe or hoof damage, this will protect his hoof and allow for easier movement.
Potential Drugs to Keep on Hand:
- Dipyrone (Metamizole) – anti-spasmodic & mild analgesic. IV or IM. ~20cc
- Banamine (Flunixin Meglamine) – strong analgesic & antipyretic. IV or IM. ~10cc
- Bute (Phenylbutazone) – great anti-inflammatory. IV only! ~10cc
- PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ON THE DOSES FOR YOUR HORSE! You will also need to have your Veterinarian teach you how to administer. It's a good idea to talk to your Veterinarian or the Veterinarian on call before you administer any types of drugs. Often, we are too quick to administer a drug before the Vet can talk to you and see your horse, which will interfere with the diagnosis.
What items have you added to your horse's Vet kit?