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.
- Banamine (Flunixin Meglamine) – strong analgesic & antipyretic.
- Bute (Phenylbutazone) – great anti-inflammatory.
- 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. Also note that some drugs if given in the muscle can cause massive reactions and tissue damage.
What items have you added to your horse's Vet kit?