Horse First Aid

Horse First Aid


Everyone says, “Oh, that will never happen to me!” and when they do have some for of accident that injures their horse,
they wish they had known horse first aid. This page has all the basics of horse first aid covered. Unless you are in the
horseracing, or Three-Day-Eventing business, this page should tell you all you need to know about basic horse first aid.

Horse First Aid Kit:
You will need . . .
1. Gauze
2. Wound Powder
3. Iodine
4. Antiseptic Solution
5. Gamgee
6. Poultice
7. Bandages
8. Cotton Wool
9. Deworming Paste
10. Round-Ended Scissors
11. Thermometers

Now, here are some basic treatments that you will probably need to know if you are working around horses:

Preventing Infection:
The preventing of infection is very important if your horse gets cut on something. First, clip away the hair
surrounding the cut using the round-ended scissors. Then, pour some warm water into a clean container and add
the antiseptic solution to it (not ALL of it, mind you). Now, dip a clean piece of cotton wool into the water,
squeeze it out and use it to gently clean up the wound. Keep on doing this with fresh pieces of cotton wool until
the cut is clean. If the cut is not a serious one, you can put your horse in its loose box after cleaning the cut,
and repeat the process the day afterwards if the wound gets dirty again. However, if the wound bleeds a lot, or is
near to a joint or tendon, call your vet immediately.

Hosing a Horse’s Legs:
Hosing horse’s legs can do many things. But the main thing it does is reduce swelling and pain when cold water is
used. First, ask someone who knows your horse to hold it for you. Then, take the hosepipe and start to gently
run cold water down the leg that is injured. To this for fifteen or so minutes, then stop, allow the leg to warm
up again, and repeat the procedure twice more or so. Once you are finished doing this, put your horse in its
loose box. If there is still swelling the next day, call your vet.

Applying Wound Powder:
Wound powder comes in very handy when treating small cuts and scratches. After cleaning the cut (see ‘Preventing
Infection’) puff some antiseptic wound powder onto the cut. This – as well as helping to stop infection – keeps
away the flies who would love to suck on your poor horse’s blood.

Tubbing a Hoof:
If your horse as an infection in its hoof, you will need to tub the infected hoof. What you do is fill a clean
bucket with warm water and put around three tablespoons of Epsom salts into the water. Then, have someone who
knows your horse hold it while you place the infect hoof into the bucket. Your horse will have to stand there
for up to ten or fifteen minutes twice per day until all the pus and other things in its hoof come out.

Applying a Hoof Poultice:
There are two kinds of poultices – hot and cold. A hot poultice does the same thing as tubbing a horse’s hoof,
which is drawing out infection. A cold poultice is used to relieve pain and reduce swelling, like if your
horse’s hoof was bruised. You can get chemically prepared poultices made of cotton wool and gauze. Here is how
you apply a hoof poultice:
1. Cut the poultice into the right shape and size for your horse’s hoof. Then, soak it in hot or cold water
(depending on what you want the poultice to do). Squeeze out the excess what while keeping the poultice flat.
2. Now, place the poultice over the sole of your horse’s hoof and bandage it in place with a bandage. The
easiest sort of bandage to use is stretchy, self-adhesive bandage.
3. Bandage the poultice to the hoof in a figure-of-eight way. Once you have bandaged the hoof up, tape a
bag out thick cotton wool around it.

Bandaging a Leg:
Bandages have several uses – holding dressing in place, supporting injured or swollen legs and keeping wet and
cold legs warm. Bandages are put over a thick, cotton-wool like layer of padding called Gamgee. And by the way – when
you are bandaging a horse’s leg, do not kneel, but crouch, next to the horse’s leg.
Here’s how to bandage your horse’s leg:
1. Bandage any form of dressing that you need for the sort of injury that your horse has in place, then wrap a layer
of Gamgee around that dressing. Make sure that you cover the coronet of the horse’s leg and that the Gamgee is flat.
2. Start applying the bandage just below the knee or hock of your horse’s leg, then hold the end in place until you have
secured it fast with a few more turns.
3. Wrap the bandage down the leg and over the fetlock and pastern of your horse until you reach the top of your horse’s
hoof. Try to keep the tension of the bandage even as you go.
4. When you reach the coronet, start making your way up your horse’s leg. Then, when you get to the end of the bandage,
you should be around the spot you started bandaging from. Now, secure the bandage with Velcro straps or tape. Tie the tape
neatly on the outside of your horse’s leg.
5. The bandage, now that it is properly applied, should look firm, but not tight. You should just be able to see a bit of
Gamgee sticking out from the top and bottom of the bandage.

So, that’s the basics of horse first aid. As you can see, it is pretty simple stuff. However, if there is anything more
serious than what I have mentioned on this page and the other horse care pages, please call your vet at once.

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