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What your horse's first aid kit should contain

Updated on June 16, 2009

Helpful items for horses

Important components to keep your horse safe


The saying better safe than sorry comes pretty handy to keep in mind if you own a horse. One of the best things you can do for your horse and yourself is to prepare a nice first aid kit to keep handy near the stable. You never know when you might need one and you do not want to be searching desperately for gauze or a thermometer should an emergency arise.

All you need to do is provide a nice sturdy box and I will give you a detailed list of what you will need to add. Your first aid kit can be pretty basic but you can make it more elaborate if you have a good knowledge about horse veterinary care. It is up to you if you want to add other items such as vaccines or oral medications.

In order to organize a basic first aid kit you will need:

-A digital thermometer. I prefer digital because it is must faster and safer than the older mercury ones. You want to have a string and clip handy as well to avoid the thermometer from being "lost". I would also add a little note pad and pencil to jolt down the temperature, I would hate to forget it and have to retake it again. Also, keeping track of temperatures are helpful should your vet ask for most recent readings. Perhaps you also want to keep handy somewhere on the note pad the normal temperature readings for adult horses: that is between 98.5F to 101F and for foals which is between 100 and 102.

-KY Jelly to help insert the thermometer rectally. Vaseline or petroleum jelly may work as well.

-Alcohol: use this to disinfect the thermometer after use.

-Hydrogen peroxide. Flush deep wounds such as puncture wounds with hydrogen peroxide promptly.

-Betadine. Use Betadine for superficial wounds that are not deep. You will be reaching out for it often since horses are prone to minor cuts and bruises.

-Nolvasan or Neosporin wound cleaner. These keep bacteria away, therefore, will prevent infections and will promote healing. Usually are to be applied twice daily.

-Fly lotion. Do not apply directly to wound but around it, you want to keep these nasty insects away from wounds.

-Gauze Keep gauze always handy,and do not forget to add scissors so you can cut it into pieces for different types of lenghts.

-Self-Adhesive Tape If you use gauze, self adhesive tape will help keep it in place.

-Vet wrap is a good quality tape that can be easily applied and easily removed.

-Pliers/wire cutters. Horses can get in trouble, such as getting caught in a barbed wire fence, in this case you want to have them ready to promptly free your horse.

-Stethoscope. You can hear your horse's heartbeat clearly right behind the left elbow. Your regular horse's heart beat is 30 to 40 beats a minute, remember though that a nursing mare will have a higher rate and that a foal's heart beat will be between 60 to 80 beats a minute. A stethoscope comes handy as well to check for gut sounds, absence of gut sounds may indicate a colic.

-Flash light You want to be able to see if your horse gets sick in the dark and your horse is outdoors or your stable is unlit.

-You veterinarians phone number and after hour emergency care contacts. Keep them in the first aid box along with keeping them on your fridge.

-Finally ask your veterinarian. Knowing your horses' medical history he/she may give you further tips and advice of what you can add. He may also be able to provide you with some useful medications to administer in emergency cases such as Epinephrine for anaphylactic shock or Acepromazine in extreme cases where sedation is the only way to treat the horse.

You know your horse is very well cared for and in great hands but now that you have successfully assembled your horse's first aid kit you are better prepared and will be able to provide quality, prompt treatment in case of an emergency.


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    • Mardi profile image

      Mardi 9 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

      This is a great idea and something horse people often forget. I know I did until we had an emergency many years ago. The only things I would add is a good set of tweezers for pulling out splinters or objects that are stuck in the skin and a can of some kind of wound dressing with scarlet oil.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      Great tips. Although, I've never had a horse, I had friends who did. These are great things to have on hand.