First Aid Supplies
This is something I talk about a lot on my blog, first aid supplies. And I haven’t posted about first aid stuff for horses in awhile, so today I wanted to share with you equine first aid kit must have’s that every horse owner should have in their first aid kits for their horses. Because if you have horses, especially at home, eventually you will have something happen where you need a first aid kit. And if you horse is anything like mine, you will use that first aid kit a lot. This is a good and bad thing. Bad because you have to use your first aid kit. But good, because you have a first aid kit!
You can buy first aid kits for horses ready made. But in doing some research on these kits, you would be better off by making your own kit. And if you have never made a kit, or have finally decided to do it I wanted to share with you some of the most important items you need for your own equine first aid kit.
Equine First Aid Kit Must Have’s
Ok, so you are going to go out and buy stuff for your barn first aid kit. Here are the things that I feel are important, and you will be glad to have available in case of an emergency.
Vet wrap is at the top of my list because there are so many uses for it, and it is cheap! And as long as it is in it’s sealed packaging, it will last a long time. You can buy a roll or two every time you go to the feed store, or if you are ordering something online. Vet wrap is nice because you can tear it, and you don’t need tape to keep it in place. It works good for holding dressings in place, and if you need to apply some pressure, you can accomplish this with vet wrap. Vet wrap can also be used for leg protection as well as a tail wrap.
And if you buy it at this link from Amazon, you can get 16 rolls for $15.99, making each roll cost about $.99 a roll.
4×4 Gauze Squares
Like vet wrap, 4 x 4 gauze pads are a necessary part of any first aid kit. You don’t have to buy the sterile ones, especially when it comes to animals. Just having a lot of 4 x 4 pads will be helpful in your first aid kit. And you can buy a package of 200 for around $7.00. I prefer the woven style of gauze. It wicks moisture away better, and helps to keep a wound clean. The non-woven style of gauze seems to trap moisture, and keeps a wound wet.
I am a certified wound specialist for people, and I have used lots of different types of wound dressings. So I have used this style of gauze for as long as I have been doing wound care for people, as well as my own horses. And in my opinion, this type of 4×4 gauze is best for your first aid kit.
When a horse gets cut, or has a gooey wound, you want to be able to have something that will absorb a lot of drainage. And by having a lot of 4×4 gauze like this, you will be better prepared for whatever your horse presents to you when it comes to an injury. You can buy the sterile 4 x 4 woven gauze, and they come 2 gauze pads to a package. But when you are dealing with a fresh, bleeding wound, it is easier and faster to be able to grab several gauze pads at one time instead of having to open up several packages.
Gloves like these have so many uses in the barn, for first aid, or general horse care. You can put on a pair of gloves when you are putting on an ointment, as well as if something happens and you need to treat an injury. I hate to be graphic, but when a horse gets hurt and there is blood involved, it’s usually a lot of blood. And when you get a lot of blood on your hands, your hands will get very sticky. It is very difficult to work with blood and sticky hands. By having a box of nitrile gloves in the barn, you will be better prepared to deal with a situation, and keep your hands clean.
And speaking about clean, if you are dealing with a wound, you want to keep it as clean as possible, and not introduce anything into that wound that could cause an infection. You also want to protect yourself, so you don’t become contaminated. Nitrile gloves will protect you, as well as keeping the wound as clean as you can while you are working on it. You can buy a box of 100 for less than $10.00, and it will last a very long time.
Personally I prefer the old school stainless steel bandage scissors to the newer style of EMT shears. The EMT ones look cooler, but the old style work better, well at least for me they do. The scissors I use at work and at home are 8″ Lister style bandage scissors. They cut through thick dressings (I use them when removing casts from people) and they are easy to work with, and even easier to clean. The longer scissors give you a little more leverage when cutting off dressings, making it easier to cut through a lot of layers of dressing materials.
They also have a longer side with a little spoon like appendage. This makes it easy to get under a dressing, and there is no risk that you will cut the horse, or whomever you are cutting the dressing off of.
This is an often overlooked item, but it is so affordable! And if you do not have running water to access when your horse gets hurt, hand sanitizer is a very good option to have. Not only does it kill germs, but it can also clean a wound, and your hands when you don’t have anything around you.
I like to buy hand sanitizer in the very big bulk sizes, just in case. No brand is better than the other, I just want to have antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. SO cheap is fine. And if it has a big pump on the container, even better!
A Head Lamp
This may seem odd to have on a list of essential items for a first aid kit, but a head lamp is so useful, especially when it comes to first aid for horses. First, horses are huge animals. And when they get hurt, the often are more challenging to control. And if there is a cut, or something you really need to see, having a head lamp to see, while being able to still have use of both hands is such a blessing. Even in a well lit barn, extra light always helps to assess what you are dealing with.
You can find headlamps everywhere nowadays. But I prefer to have a good one. The one I use has rechargeable batteries, so I never have to worry about it not working. And I find the rechargeable headlamps have a brighter light and better headband for keeping it in place. The head lamp I have costs around $24.00 on Amazon, and it is worth every penny. I have had this head lamp for 4 years now, I think that says enough to the quality.
Just The Basics
If you are just starting to put together your own barn first aid kit, then I would ask you to please buy these items first. If you have the items listed above, you will be well on your way to having a very usable first aid kit with items that don’t expire for a very long time. And each of these items is useful, and you will use them.
You can always build onto your kit and add different ointments, sprays and other things. But if you are just getting started, these items will give you peace of mind that if something happens to your horse, you will be prepared to handle the situation. And if you were to buy every item I talked about, you would spend less than $100.00 on Amazon. These items are the most useful I have found to have in my own first aid kit. And I would highly recommend buying these items versus buying a prepacked first aid kit.
But honestly, most first aid kits are ok, and having one is the most important thing. So if you are just making your own or buying one for the first time, make sure you have these essentials. Hopefully you will not need to use them, but in case something happens, it is better to be prepared and have these things, just in case.