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Maintaining an Equine Medical Kit

To be prepared to help your horse after an injury or during illness, keep a horse medical kit in your barn. You can purchase a ready-made kit in a handy storage and carrying case, or you can choose to build your own, stocking a container of your choice with your preferred brands of supplies.

In addition to medical supplies, some barn managers and horse owners keep supplies, such as Animalintex Poultice Pad for dealing with hoof abscesses and other hoof ailments in their medical kit, or stored nearby.

Periodically, inspect the items in your kit to be sure they're in good condition, and check expiration dates. Some medicines become either ineffective or more potent as they age, so you should monitor the expiration dates on products and discard expired ones.

If you have a small backyard barn, then you're likely to remember to restock your kit after an episode with one of your horses. In your instance, a semi-annual inspection of your kit may be appropriate. You might consider conducting your inventory in autumn, when certain medicinal gels or liquids should be moved to a temperature-controlled environment to prevent freezing, and during the spring before your busy summer riding schedule begins.

If you run a barn with boarders or riding students, consider reviewing your horse medical kit on a monthly basis. Visitors may not be scrupulous about reporting used or borrowed items to you, and you don't want to find out you're missing an item when you need it most.

Here is a list of critical medical supplies and other suggestions for items that you might want to include in your horse medical kit. Consider printing these lists for storage inside your kit to serve as an inventory checklist. The chart of equine vital sign ranges that follows the lists may be helpful for you to keep there as well.

Essential Medical Supplies
  • 1 roll of absorbent cotton, sterile or non-sterile, to place over wound pads and under leg quilts, or to pull apart and use like cotton balls to clean a wound.

  • 1 roll of gauze at least 2" wide to hold wound pads in place.

  • 4 stable bandages— If they do not have hook and loop closures, then bandage pins should be included. Note: if you have ponies, then be sure to have pony stable bandages on hand. Horse size stable bandages will be too long.

  • Standing wraps, leg quilts, or No-Bow Wraps.

  • Supply of 4" sterile wound pads; can be used in cleaning wounds, applying ointments and dressing wounds.

  • Supply of 4" non-adhesive wound pads.

  • Cohesive, flexible bandage wrap such as Vetrap Elastic Bandage. Note: although the flexible bandages do not have expiration dates, they should be replaced yearly as heat and age may cause this type of wrap to meld together or become unusable.

  • 1 roll of adhesive/bandage tape at least 1" wide.

  • Antimicrobial or antibacterial scrub, at least 8 ounces, to clean wounds.

  • Digital thermometer or veterinary horse thermometer with string and alligator clip tied to end.

  • Latex examination gloves.

  • Rubbing alcohol.

  • Blunt-tipped bandage scissors.

  • Tourniquet.

  • Clean towels.

  • Triple Antibiotic wound ointment.

  • Instantly activated ice pack(s).

  • Flashlight for illuminating hard-to-see sites; spare batteries.

Additional Medical Supplies
  • Stethoscope.

  • Hand sanitizing wipes.

  • Alcohol wipes.

  • Oral syringes.

  • Eye wash.

  • Aluminum spray for treating surface abrasions.

  • Tweezers.

  • Petroleum jelly to lubricate thermometer.

  • Saline solution for rinsing wounds.

  • Twitch.

  • Liniment.

  • Tube of electrolytes.

  • Small stainless steel bowl or cup.

  • Pliers.

Hoof Abscess Supplies
  • Horseshoe puller and clinch cutter or rasp in case you need to remove a bent or twisted shoe before your farrier can arrive.

  • Soaking boot (such as the Davis PVC Treatment Horse Boot) or foot soaking tub.

  • Disposable baby diapers in case you need to make a slipper-like wrap for a horse's foot.

  • Gauze pads to hold hoof medicine in place.

  • Cohesive, flexible bandages (Vetrap, Coflex, Powerflex).

  • Duct tape to place on bottom of slipper.

  • Epsom salts for soaking solution.

  • Povidone-iodine (such as Betadine Solution) for soaking solution.