First Aid For Your Horse

Be prepared: Design a first aid kit and be able to use it.
Don’t Panic: You have more time than you think if you use it wisely.
Call for Help: Call your veterinarian for more information when you need help.

Your First Aid Kit:
1. Your veterinarian’s name and phone number.
2. Have a cell phone handy.
3. Information about and directions to your location.
4. Thermometer
5. Antiseptic scrub (betadine or chlorhexidine base).
6. Bandage material; gauze sponges, telfa/nonstick pads, cottons, diapers, leg wraps, field dressings, tape.
7. Antibiotic ointment (water soluble); Furacin (not Corona or other waxy or oil based creams).
8. Flashlight
9. Scissors
10. Sharp knife, wire cutters, pliers
11. Stethoscope
12. Information about your horse’s medical history and vaccination/deworming status.
13. Equine Vitals

You can add other things to the kit as you accumulate them.

Avoiding Emergencies

Practice Preventative Medicine:
- Keep current on vaccinations
- Follow appropriate deworming schedule

Practice Good Horsemanship:
- Provide fresh water and quality feed in a clean area.
- Keep stalls clean.
- Know your horse’s normal habits so you will recognize changes that may indicate that something is wrong.
- Repair safety hazards in the pasture, barn, and fences.
- Do not exercise sick or injured horses.
- Know your horse’s limits, and do not exceed them.

Normal Equine Parameters:
A normal horse’s vital signs fall within these ranges. It is a good idea to observe them in your individual horse when he is in a “normal” situation so you will have a better reference when he is under stress.

Temperature: 99.5 – 101.5 degrees
FPulse: 30-50 beats per minute at rest
Respiratory Rate: 10-25 breaths per minute at rest
Mucous membranes: pink and moist
Intestinal Sounds: should be present
Capillary Refill Time (CRT): less than 3 seconds

Medicating Your Horse

Drugs are seldom important to First Aid Treatments. If there is any doubt about the use of a medication, contact your veterinarian. Some medications can worsen a horse’s condition. For example, tranquilizers can be dangerous if a horse is in shock and pain relievers may mask important symptoms, which could lead to an incorrect diagnosis. Medications may also encourage behavior that may worsen the problem, i.e. colicky horses will eat, injured horses may exercise.

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