It can be difficult to think straight when you first find your horse bleeding and injured. Adrenaline rushes through your body and makes it easy to panic. Preparation and an excellent first aid kit can help you successfully manage these crisis situations.
Start by keeping your horse wound care supplies in an easily accessible spot. Consider a portable trunk on wheels in case you need to bring your supplies to an injured horse. Prepare for an emergency by regularly evaluating your first aid kit. Check supply levels and organize as needed. When your horse is wounded, you need to know where all of your supplies are in an instant.
Keep your first aid kit stocked with basic horse wound care supplies so you’re ready for any situation.
A gentle, non-toxic wound cleaner is one of the most important pieces of your first aid kit. Sometimes clean water or sterile saline solution is the best, most gentle way to clean a wound. Whatever you decide to use, be sure that is labeled for equine use on open wounds and has a non-stinging formula. Your horse is likely to be uptight and nervous in an emergency. The last thing you want to do is use a harsh, painful cleaner on a sensitive area!
Keep multiple types of wrapping materials on hand. Diapers are an excellent and inexpensive way to wrap your horse’s hoof in case they pull a shoe or develop an abscess. High-quality standing wraps and quilts can be used to manage swelling, provide support, and protect your horse’s legs.
A self-sticking bandage, like elastikon or vet wrap, is a staple of horse wound care supplies. These can be used over cotton or gauze to hold medication close to your horse’s skin. Be careful-- these types of bandages only tighten, not loosen.
It’s also important to have a sterile section of your first aid kit. Here you can keep gauze squares, cotton rolls, and gloves. To avoid ripped packaging, keep all sterile products inside an additional protective layer. This could be as simple as a small box or ziploc bag.
In an emergency situation, it may be up to you to administer life-saving medications prior to your veterinarian’s arrival. Always, always, ALWAYS consult with your veterinarian prior to administering drugs of any kind. Discuss with your vet what prescription medications should be part of your first aid kit.
Many veterinarians recommend having flunixin, phenylbutazone, and antibiotics on hand in case of a crisis. If you decide to add these supplies to your first aid kit, take some time to discuss dosing and administration with your veterinarian. Never administer drugs to your horse without veterinary guidance.
Hand Tools & Equipment
When you think of “horse wound care supplies” tools like pliers and duct tape may not be the first thing you think of. But they are surprisingly useful to have in a first aid kit.
Duct tape provides a great makeshift “boot” for hoof wrapping when combined with a diaper. It’s also handy to have around the barn for quick and temporary equipment fixes.
Wire cutters could save your horse’s life if they were to ever become tangled in wire fencing. Bare wire can create some horribly deep cuts. If your horse is tangled, wire cutters may be the only way to get them out.
Pliers are necessary if your horse ever steps on a nail or pulls off a shoe. However, don’t instantly reach for the pliers in every case of a loose shoe or embedded object. X-rays may be needed to determine if a nail or warped clip has punctured an important structure. Consult with your veterinarian prior to pulling any foreign object out of your horse.
Creams & Salves
Last but not least are the staples of every wound care kit: creams and salves. Most tack stores will have an entire aisle dedicated to triple antibiotic ointments, silver sprays, spray-on bandages, and proud flesh powders. But not all of them are good for your horse. Some of these colorful powders and sprays can actually inhibit healing and dry out your horse’s skin. You may also want to think twice before reaching for an antibiotic ointment as the widespread use of these creams is creatingantibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Managing a wound in a crisis situation is easier when working with products you trust. A high-quality barrier cream is one of the best products to have in your first aid kit. Zarasyl’spatented formulacreates a moisturizing environment, ideal for healing. It is tailored to provide sustained delivery of orthosilicic acid to the skin. This is the bioavailable form of silicon associated with healthy connective tissue growth.
Veterinarians and horse owners alike have reported success when managing wounds withZarasyl. Dr. Tony Kimmons, DVM, had this to say: “I’ve had several cases with deep penetrating wounds with extensive skin loss that responded extremely well to Zarasyl. There was a huge time reduction for the healing process. I’m very impressed with the results from Zarasyl!”