Items To Include In An Equine First Aid Kit

Hi. I’m Devan Catalano and I’m an Animal Science Master’s student at the University of Minnesota. Hi. I’m Dr. Erin Malone and I’m a large animal surgeon here at the University of Minnesota. We are going to talk about what you should have with you in terms of an first aid kit when you are traveling going on trips or going to shows. This is a first-aid kit we bought. It sells for just under $80. We’re going to explore it first then we are going to look at a kit we created for about twice the price. And you can see what you think of the two of them. As we pull stuff out there are some medications some Band-Aids® in the top pocket in this area. This looks to be more human related things. They have a roll of cotton padding. I’m going to get half the cannon bone probably not really enough for most of the horse. Again, something is better than nothing. A little role of vet tape. It’s pretty sterile, pretty clean when it’s in a package so that can be handy. Here are some more gauzes for absorbency so that will help us to wipe things off. Take this out and throw it away. This is hydrogen peroxide. It’s good for cleaning your contacts but not a whole lot else. It does kill some things things but it also dissects follows blood. So if you have a wound with blood in it it can actually dissect between the tissue planes and create a bigger wound. So, I don’t really like to have that in there. Take that out. Same thing with this one. It’s a cute little veterinary liniment elixir. It has a bunch of stuff in there I wouldn’t put on a wound. This is a multipurpose ointment. Basically it is lanolin so good for your chapped lips. Now we are going to go through our homemade first aid kit which is a little bit bigger. It does come in a nice bin which can become very handy for other things whether you need extra water in this or you can just use it for trash when you are done. A clear, plastic bin is always really handy. We have a bunch of bandage stuff packed in here. I’m going to take that out and we’ll talk about it later. I’m going to start with the paperwork which is right in front of me. I do have my phone. It’s got a lot of great stuff on it. It’s got that flashlight. It’s got a phone. But if this goes under the horse or into their crate it’s not any good anymore. So it is always good to have a backup. A map of your region. And we have phone numbers of our veterinarian or a local veterinarian or a friend. Having other people on there too, again, when you’re stressed it’s nice to be able to call someone and say “Hey, I think this has happened.” “Can you find me some help?” Having things in writing is really good. Here is our vet’s phone number again too. Tape it on the box. This is laminated so if it gets wet it is not an issue. Otherwise a plastic baggie to hold your paperwork can be really handy. Probably the most important thing in here is our unbreakable plastic bowl. You can use this for all sorts of things. We can put water in it. We can put our antiseptic in it. We can put our sharp things in it. And again, the unbreakable part is really handy. It could be an ugly plastic bowl. This is a nice pretty one but very handy to have a plastic bowl. Again this can tote water when it’s empty and those things too. All of that is really handy to have. We have some nice lint-free towels. Not only great for scrubbing your stuff when you are done but the lint doesn’t come off in the wounds. So that can help if you need to clean things off. Reusable, green. Good things for the environment. We have a nice flashlight in a case. Again, I got one on my phone. This is a heavier duty than the one in the other kit. It does have a push button on the end. The batteries are not in here right now. That is a good way to travel because if you don’t use this very often then those batteries leak and the flashlight is no longer any good. Keeping plenty of batteries in a separate pack is very handy. They can’t run out and this thing can be stepped on and not going to be an issue. Duct tape. You can use that for all sorts of things. A little antibiotic crème. This is silver sulfadiazine. Really good for burn wounds which means it can be used on about anything. My absolute favorite would be stuff you can put in an eye because if you can put it in an eye you can put it anyplace. But they come in small tubes. So they’re kind of more this size of tubes. Again, not as useful as maybe a container or tube of triple antibiotic. Plus, again, if she gets a wound I can put this on her very safely. It’ll work just fine. We have some Povidone iodine. The iodine in here becomes effective when you dilute it. So you want to make this into a weak tea. Your bowl will be very handy. Pour some into the bowl. Add some water or some saline and get it to the color of weak tea. A bottle of irrigation fluid or saline. You can buy these at the drugstores too. I don’t know why they sell them at the drugstores but you can buy them. So it’s easy enough to get. That’ll help to dilute or to rinse off your wounds. Our favorite saying is, “The solution to pollution is dilution”. This is not enough to deal with a lot of horse wounds. You don’t want to really carry that much of fluids to deal with horse wounds. But if you can get a hose it’s not sterile but the more water the better. Use your fingertip to spray it or just use it as it comes out. Probably don’t want to put on the the soaker the shower nozzle thing on there to get a very firm spray because you can actually shove stuff into the wound. But mud is bad. We want to get the mud off and it is probably going to take more than this. A really nice way is to use a syringe and a needle. You can then squirt that on the wound. That gives you the right amount of pressure too. About a 35-60cc syringe and an 18 gauge needle needle will give you a good pressure spray without being too strong too. You can use those for a lot of things. Scissors. Scissors or your weather man tool or a Swiss Army knife or anything like that. Scissors are sometimes really nice to have because you don’t worry about cutting things that you don’t want to cut. It can slide down a bandage or through wire. Have both of them will be even better. A pocket knife and that. Pliers. Shoes always come off at a bad time and if you ever see one of those come off they never stay in position. They kind of go sideways and now they are going to bruise or damage the foot. So you need to get that shoe off. Nothing works nearly as well as pliers do so get a set of those. Plus they can use double duty for your truck. Hemostats. Fine tipped is good. Basically if there is a splinter or a foreign body or something in the wound you can use these to pull it out. To sanitize them you can put some alcohol on it first or you can just rinse them a lot. I like having this in there. This is a hand sanitizer. Basically it is an alcohol based hand sanitizer with some emollients on there. You can clean your hands and you can clean your instrument. You can even wipe out the inside of the bowl if you really wanted to. It comes in a nice little carry package these days. Those are easy to get. Gloves. I always like to have gloves with me. Again, more for preventing my skin infections from getting into the horse or for her infections getting onto me if she injures herself. Gloves. These do disintegrate with sunlight and heat so you want to replace them on occasion. A stethoscope and a thermometer. Really handy to know how your horse is doing. If he’s overheated you can cool him down. If he’s got a relatively low heart rate you’re not going to stress as much. This is not the time to learn how to use these. So you need to take these out in advance practice with them get to know normals on your horse first. Magnesium sulfate Epsom salt. This is for poulticing. If you think your horse has gotten a foot wound or has a swollen leg you can use this to try to take some of the swelling out. Another bucket. Again, great for trash great for carrying water great for putting our foot-soak in. You can soak the horse’s foot. The bucket might even be easier. This thing might be even easier. Or a big plastic heavy-duty bag you can soak the foot in that. There are also some foot poultices because we know they get foot abscesses all the time. These are great for pulling that out. Same thing for our take on swelling. We have some Fura-Zone in here. I use this mostly for poulticing. If I’ve got a swollen leg use this on that. I’ll put this on the leg. And then we cover it with saran wrap. That kind of helps to draw out the swelling. I don’t use this as much on the wounds. I much prefer the triple antibiotic or the silver sulfadiazine. These antibiotic solutions actually don’t kill all bacteria. So these multiuse containers can grow something sometimes. Good for superficial wounds good for swellings. Not necessarily good for deep wounds that you are worried about getting into important structures like joints. Tape. You always need tape. And then we will add this to our bandage stuff. The last thing in here are some diapers. Very absorbent. They work much better than the stuff they make for people for little wounds because these will soak up a lot of blood or a lot of ooze. They can be useful. We are going to move on to talk about the bandage stuff. We’ll put some of this stuff away as we go. Everybody has got their preferences for bandaging but having some basics in your kit can be really handy. Once the wound is cleaned with our plastic bowl and everything we will usually try to protect it from any further contamination or injury in the trailer. We do like the non-stick pads next to the wound. Nothing worse than getting the bleeding to stop and then ripping off a sticky pad and pulling the clot off and they start bleeding again. Then you need some way to hold them onto the leg once he stops moving around. This is a non-sterile very cheap wrap. It also doesn’t stretch very much so you want to be careful how you use that. These little sterile bandages come sterile so you don’t have to worry about contamination. They come really clean and they’re nice and soft and stretchy. This is my preferred way to hold those non-stick pads on the leg. We can use this if we need extra security for it too. Before we use any tight wraps like a Vetrap™ we want to have some padding on the legs legs so we don’t injure the tendons. Carrying things like premade bandages is really handy. Trying to mess with cotton out there when it is wet and you got burrs around is no fun. These ones are hind leg sized and front leg sized. You can cut it in half for pony size. You can do that in advance too if you need to so you are ready to go. Scissors aren’t going to get through this. So this is handy to have your knife if you want to cut it down. Usually you can get a couple bandages out of these two. Good to have around. And then hold that in place usually with Vetrap™. Vetrap™ is our favorite one. You can get this pretty snug but you want your bandage to be smooth. So just try to avoid the wrinkles. And those are clean too as they come out. I haven’t found any good replacement for Elastikon. It is expensive but worth it. It will hold your bandage up and it will protect stuff from going up your bandage at the bottom. You don’t need to bandage the leg in it. That would be a little cost prohibitive but this will stick on there. If it gets hot it gets really sticky. So you may, again want to pull this out in the hot summer months and keep it in your glove compartment or something so you can find it and not have it in the back with everything hot. This is a nice little one layer bandage. Probably very helpful for wounds smaller wounds but you’ll probably use it more on later healing stuff that’s getting injured. Duct tape. Good for everything. Have a roll or two of that in there. If your Vetrap™ isn’t holding on anything can help hold the bandage in place. These are PVC pipes you can get pretty cheaply. These are cut in half and filed down so they don’t bother anything. They are really good for splinting. Your arm please ma’am. The horse’s leg you can keep it stretched out. You bandage the leg. Put this on there and use your duct tape to hold it in place and that will act as a splint for your horse. The human splints they got for traveling are great for humans but not strong enough for horses. A couple things to talk about as far as maintaining your kit obviously as you use stuff you want to replace it. But as we mentioned going through every once in a while making sure your gloves haven’t disintegrated beyond use and checking expiration dates. There should always be an expiration date on the important stuff. If you’re carrying drugs such as Bute or Banamine or antibiotics you want to check those to. They should always come with a prescription label that tells how long they are good for. Generally don’t give drugs until you talk to your veterinarian first to make sure it’s okay. Go through your kit. Put a note on your calendar. Check it every 6 months. Make sure everything is still functional and you got everything you need and nothing is expired so you aren’t worried about, “Oh… It’s expired now.” “What do I do? ” “Do I risk it or not?” In conclusion you should be seeing on your screen a list of items we have included in our first-aid kit. You can definitely add more. There is a lot of things but there is reason behind every single one one of them we got on the list. In addition, we got a link on there. You can see other things we recommend for being prepared for first-aid emergencies in your horse.


  1. Where do you get your saline bottles. Here in New Jersey you need a prescription for sterile saline and sterile water it's crazy

  2. This is a great video! Thank you for making it. It would be great if there was a list of all the supplies that we could print, or even better with links on where we could buy it all. 🙂

  3. My trainer always had the small travel size versions of the triple antibiotic in her kit because the big tubs can get dirty quickly and its easier to throw the small tube away than the tub.

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