Friday, 24 July 2015

First Aid for Horses

I have written a few blogs about Horse Health because obviously it is an important element of caring for or riding a horse.  Have a look at my Healthy Horse blog, my Recognising Ill Health or my Sick Nursing blogs.  

 There are obviously a few things that you can do yourself in some circumstances and for this it is good to have a First Aid Kit.  I did a video about 'What's in my First Aid Kit' back in February.  Your First Aid Kit should be kept clean and well stocked to ensure that you have what you need when you need it.  It is no good opening it up in an emergency to find you used the last of the dressings a few weeks ago!

Your kit might include:

  • Surgical scissors with blunt ends 
  • Dressings of different sizes 
  • Sterile bandages (so individually wrapped), the ones that stick to themselves are great 
  • Wound creams, sprays or powders 
  • Cotton wool 
  • Gamgee 
  • Swabs 
  • Poultice eg: Animalintex 
  • Vaseline 
  • Thermometer 
  • Bowl 
  • Gloves

In some circumstances you will also need (not in your First Aid Kit):

  • Bandages 
  • Tape

To find out how to treat wounds see my sick nursing blog however, the following are also useful skills to have.

Cold Hosing
This is useful for cleaning small wounds and for reducing swelling.  If a wound is on a joint you should call the vet as there could be damage to the joint capsule.  If infection enters the joint capsule injuries become much more serious!  Look out for a future blog about joints.
It is a good idea to get your horse used to the hose so that you are able to use this method!  It is also often a good idea to apply Vaseline to a horse's heels first.  Then use the hose to TRICKLE cold water above the wound.  This will gently wash any dirt away and will also constrict the blood vessels to reduce bleeding and help it clot.

Is another useful trick, but many horses won't stand with their foot in a bucket!  Use Vaseline on the horse's heels.  Using a shallow bucket or bowl you can either place the horse's foot in the bucket before or after adding the water.  Hot water will have a drawing or poulticing affect (see below) and it should not be so hot that you can't put your hand in it!  The water should only come up to the bottom of the coronary band.  Cold water is useful for cleaning out small wounds in the foot!

These can be warm or cold.  Warm poultices draw out infection and soften tissue to allow pus to escape.  Cold poultices ease inflammation in the same way as cold hosing and encourage the blood vessels to constrict to reduce bleeding (internal or external).  NEVER put a poultice on a joint as you may draw out the joint fluid.  

Animalintex poultices are the most common now and these are pre-prepared and really easy to use (although a bit pricey).  These can be used hot or cold and the instructions are fairly easy to follow.  Chesney had these on his foot before Christmas have a look at my vlog.

Used much less (and I have never used these) nowadays are Kaolin or bran poultices.  The Kaolin is like clay and you heat it in the microwave before spreading onto a cloth - you must be able to put the cloth on your hand (if not it is too hot).  This is then bandaged onto the wound.  Cold Kaolin poultices mean putting the Kaolin in the fridge!  Bran poultices were used for foot problems and adding Epsom salts is sometimes useful.  Dampen the bran with boiling water and then allow it to cool.  You can then pack the bran into the foot before bandaging and putting on some type of boot (or plastic bag)!

This is when you apply either heat or cold to an area.  Hot fomentations will encourage blood to the area, cold will constrict the blood vessels and reduce blood to the area.  Using a small towel is best for these and I used a cold fomentation on Basil's haemotoma (see my vlog).

Some of these skills can be practised on a healthy horse and it is definitely useful to get your horse used to the hose!  Bandaging is a great skill to have so keep an eye out for my future 'How to' videos on my You Tube channel!

Did you see my video earlier this week 'What I'm Feeding and Horsey Clips'  ?
Horse Life and Love.   Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Chesney, Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment