First Time Horse Owner’s First Aid Kit
- December 28, 2016
- Lynn Kohr
All first time horse owners have a huge amount of information to process. Often times an overload of everyday peoples’ opinions confuse many basic first aid issues for new horse owners.
My first piece of advice; just as you would when venturing into the world of having children, establish a reliable veterinarian just as you would search out a pediatrician. Have a relationship with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be your best source of equine health information. With that being said, and along with your veterinarian’s approval, let’s build an emergency first aid kit for you and your horse.
I use a big tool box to hold my emergency supplies.
1. Emergency wound treatment.
Clean hand towel, roll of cotton batting, roll or 2 of brown gauze, roll or 2 of vet wrap, elasticon tape and white tape. Bandage scissors.
First stop the bleeding by compression then assess the wound. If just holding a clean towel on it won’t stop the bleeding, have a roll of cotton and a roll of vet wrap and do a quick wrap just to keep pressure on the site of bleeding until you can get your horse to a vet.
(I also have a baggie of 4×4 gauze pads, one bag of about 20 soaking in betadine soap and one baggie filled with dry 4×4 gauze pads, just to help in wound cleaning.)
2. Emergency pain control.
With the permission of your veterinarian, have some phenylbutazone paste and tablets, a small bottle previcox tablets and a tube of banamine paste. These are all great anti-inflammatories to have on hand and in your vet box.
After speaking with your vet in an emergency situation he or she may suggest using one of these anti-inflammatories which will help comfort your horse until you can get it to the vet. “Bute” is mostly used for acute pain for trauma like a kick to a leg, an abscess, and many other injuries with acute pain. Previcox is used often for long term pain management and for horses tending toward ulcers with use of bute. Previcox is not as irritating to your horse’s stomach lining. Banamine is great if you have a colicky horse (if your horse has stomach pain.) In layman’s terms, Bute is good for boney pain, while Banamine is good for softer tissue pain. Both cross over and are effective in both cases.
3. Elevated horse’s temperature.
Have an Equine thermometer. There are several kinds. When taking your horses temp, stand beside his hip and slowly slip your hand under his tail with a moistened and at body temp thermometer. Gently slide the rectal thermometer in his rectum. Digital and plastic are the safest. The normal body temperature for a horse is 99-101 degrees F. If your horse’s temperature is above normal, call your vet.
4. Normal Vital signs in your adult horse.
The “normal” parameters for vital signs in an adult resting horse are:
Body temperature 99-101 degrees F.
Respirations (breathing rate) 10-24 breaths per minute.
Pulse 28-44 heart beats per minute.
Mucous membranes pink and healthy. Capillary refill time (time it takes for gums to return pink after being pressed with a finger) under 2 seconds.
Gut sounds- gurgling, gas-like sounds or growling, tinkling sounds (fluid), and occasionally roars.
All of these signs are great ways to describe your horse’s situation to your veterinarian. Your horse’s vital signs are important for you to know. Learning how to take them is a great thing for your veterinarian to educate you on.
Get to know your veterinarian and have their phone number in easy access. Enjoy your new horse!
About Lynn Kohr
I am a barrel and pole horse trainer, giving springtime barrel racing and pole bending clinics and workshops, competing in barrel racing and pole bending futurities while marketing our horses for sale. I am a Mom of 3: Sage, Cedar, and Stratton. And wife of...