Having basic supplies means saving money in being able to treat minor injuries yourself. It also can save your horse’s life if needed by buying time for a veterinarian to get there.
There is no substitute for proper medical care. This supply cabinet is not to allow the novice to stitch a deep wound. It will allow treating of minor injuries without a $70+ vet bill when it isn’t needed. Some of these things you will need to get from a veterinarian – other things you can get at most farm supply stores like Tractor Supply Company or Farm King.
A digital thermometer, scissors, K-Y Jelly, cotton, needles and various sizes of syringes are always good to have on hand. An antibiotic, banamine and a few other things, as recommended by your veterinarian. Paste bute (butazolin) and DMSO can be used in a variety of situations. A stethoscope is useful for monitoring heart rate as well as gut sounds. Duct tape, epsom salts, hydrogen peroxide and small sponges are essential and inexpensive.
A couple of sets of bandages are good to keep on hand. There are standing bandages, which should always be used with cotton underneath. Polo bandages are softer and not so much for overnight use. Have an experienced horseman show you – and practice proper wrapping. Too tight and you could do severe damage; too loose and the bandage comes off. With this if a horse should strain a leg or otherwise need to be kept wrapped you can deal with the situation. Listerine (as in the mouthwash) on the leg (only if there’s no broken skin), with plastic wrap then a leg quilt then wrapped. This is left on overnight and can draw swelling out of the leg.
A betadine type scrub, neosporan, aloe vet cream, furacin spray and an antibiotic eye ointment should be kept on hand at all times. A thrush remedy should be kept on hand as well as a hoof conditioner. A humane twitch, while not used often, can be invaluable in a situation it might be needed. Latex gloves, gauze, tweezers, a hoof knife, a saline solution, wound powder, clippers and livestock chalk add to the list. Absorbine linament (liquid and gel) and Bigeloil are also good – a 50-50 mix is good as an after work spray, in a bucket of water for wiping down, in a spray bottle on legs and many other things.
Have an enclosed area for this equipment preferably in a portable tote like a tackle box and keep it accessible if needed. Be sure and follow storage directions for any medications – some need refrigeration, some don’t. Keep drugs you get from your veterinarian locked up but keep the key easily accessible by you.
Become familiar with basic wound care and emergency first aid. Know what to do and what not to do – if an injury needing sutured occurs don’t put anything on it. These items are an asset to have on hand. Think about emergency situations – your horse is acting colicy and along with the call to the vet you can describe, accurately, gut sounds.
There’s an accident and a horse is cut – hosing it until the vet arrives and you already have all the supplies you will need to care for him in the upcoming times. Your horse begins moving stiffly as if locking up – with a spray down with the linament mix, covering with towels and blankets, call to the vet and banamine per vet recommendation you can immediately treat a case of azoturia much faster than the vet can get there. Cases like this time is crucial.
A hoof abscess can be soaked in epsom salts; a scrape can immediately be sprayed with furacin then once dry treated with aloe vet cream. The livestock chalk is an urgency evacuation safeguard…how can you tell your bay horse from every other one in a rush? Livestock chalk enables you to mark your horse with identifying marks.
If the vet on the phone recommends bute for three days you have it in your barn without having to go get it. If an infection threatens you have what you need to treat that. In times where time matters this is important!
Be prepared and practice before you need to move into action in saving your horse. It can make a huge difference.