Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Aid Kit 101

Here's what's in my med kit:

  1. Fura-zone and Corona Ointment
  2. Thrush buster and a hoof pick
  3. Cotton roll and vet wrap
  4. Standing wraps and pillows/quilts/no bows
  5. Sharp scissors and bandage scissors
  6. Duct tape, and possibly diapers for wrapping feet
  7. Linament (s) and poultice
  8. Iodine scrub
  9. Epsom salts
  10. Blu Koat / Red Koat / Spray Bandage
  11. Thermometer and Vaseline
  12. Occasionals: wonder dust, SWAT, 
  13. Medicated shampoo

Dizzying, isn't it?  Let's go down the list one by one:

Fura-zone and Corona Ointment

Fura-zone and Corona are great tools for your arsenal. Fura-zone is like Neosporin - I put it on cuts after cleaning and also have used it as a sweat (see below). Corona I use like "lotion" since it contains Lanolin and Mineral Oil- it goes on blanket rubs to help prevent sores, rubs from halters/bridles/bits and on hooves during dry weather.

Sweats are a weird concept. I have used them on wind puffs and on a Thorough-pin- which is really just a glorified wind puff on the hock. Sweats are a heat remedy, and thus should not be used on recent/new injuries. Heat just makes new injuries worse. Sweats work by trapping heat inside the wrap and thus, increasing blood flow to carry swelling away, usually from the legs. I apply furazone with saran wrap over the top, and cover with a standing bandage for an hour or two to help bring down swellings. Careful not to burn the leg with overlong application and make sure to hang out and watch for signs of discomfort. 

Thrush buster and a hoof pick
Thrush is that lovely product of wet stalls, muddy turnouts and one of the many joys of spring. It manifests as a icky smell when you pick out the feet, and sometimes a black discharge. Thrush buster is nasty stuff, and stains, so be very careful in it's application. I always like to keep a spare hoof pick around just in case- I can never find one when I need it. 

Cotton roll and vet wrap
Cotton roll is a sanitary bandage that is easy to cut to shape for your needs. It's a general good-for-everything type product and is great to have on hand to spare your good standing wraps from blood and goo. Vet wrap is the same way - useful in a myriad of ways, from wrapping abscessed feet to covering a wound, but it should never be used straight on skin without a wrap underneath it and use the utmost caution in wrapping legs with it, as it's difficult to get the tension right with such a sticky product. 

Standing wraps and pillows/quilts/no bows
Standing wraps and pillows are my go to. I use them for shipping wraps and as medical bandages, and have several in different heights. By far, the 12" and the 14" are the most useful, so smaller is usually better for those of you who are just buying for the first time. I like Vacs brand standing wraps - they last wonderfully and have a nice texture/slight give to them that other wraps can't quite copy. 

Sharp scissors and bandage scissors
Have a SEPARATE pair of scissors just for your med kit, and consider bandage scissors if your horse doesn't stand well. You'll use them for everything, and sharp is better. 

Duct tape, and possibly diapers for wrapping feet, Epsom salts
Duct tape, vet wrap and diapers/cotton roll are the gold standard for abscess wrapping. Abscesses are like zits in the feet of our horses, and can result from everything from a stone bruise to... an apparent change in the weather. They vary in severity, but I've always been able to treat them at home. They start with lameness, and you can usually tell because the horse will have a "hot" spot - actually or via a pressure test (with testers or just pressing with the flat end of a hoof pick) that is painful. I soak with Epsom salts and warm water to soften the foot until the abscess "goes" and then keep soaking and wrap to keep the wound where the abscess blew clean and dry. That's where the "boot" made from a pad, like a diaper, plus vet wrap with duct tape over the top comes in. Inside that wrap I usually include an Epsom salt paste made with iodine or water, and sometimes add some Sore No More Liniment for it's bruise-healing properties. 

Liniment (s) and poultice
Liniments work to cool the horse and help support and brace the legs and body after exercise. I use Sore No More post XC and after hard work outs/possible leg collisions to help treat any bruising there may be. I also use a product called Mineral Ice, but only on legs that will remain bare, and as a cooling "brace" combined with cool water post-work out. Sore No More does not contain alcohol and menthol, and thus is safe to wrap. Poultice is the "mud" version of Liniment - instead of clear gel/liquid, poultice is made of wet clay and is a post  XC tradition believed to cool the leg. I have grown to prefer Sore No More with wraps, but I don't run high levels. Icing and then poulticing (a layer of mud with a wet paper wrap over, then covered in standing wraps) is a tradition on the circuit and may work well for your leg care needs. 

Iodine scrub
Iodine is another cure-all. I use the hospital scrub to clean wounds and also use it to combat skin infections, especially the fungal ones, like rain rot. 

Blu Coat / Red Coat / Spray Bandage
These are all sprays - Blu Coat contains Gentian Violet, Red Coat has "Scarlet Oil" and Spray or liquid bandages form a protective layer over an injury. I use Blu Coat on the last few days of an abscess or as a general liquid bandage. Red Coat I use on rain rot and all the other skin "icks" due to it's anti-fungal properties. They're easy apply and the two Coat products tend to list their uses and abilities right on the label, which is helpful :)

Thermometer and Vaseline
Know your horse's temp, and check when you're suspicious. If you don't know what Vaseline is for, allow me to remind you that you take temperatures rectally in horses. 'Nuff said. 

Occasionals: wonder dust, SWAT, Medicated shampoo, bute or banamine
Wonder dust is used for proud flesh, which I have never had to deal with (thank god!) as I am a religious wrapper. 
SWAT - furizone friend for fly season. I put it around a wound, as I don't want to put bug juice in a wound. 
Medicated Shampoo - another weapon in the battle against skin funks. Watch the backs of legs, bottoms of fetlocks and the backs of the pasterns in the spring for weird textures, smells, sores, "crud", etc. Identify what kind of crud you have: Rain rot, treat with medicated shampoo, iodine, red coat and AIR. Scratches? My vet has a cream that they put together for it, but it's a nasty one. Either way, these skin funks need to be CLEAN and thus, medicated shampoo.

Bute and Banamine: these are both pain relievers. Bute is an NSAID that relieves pain and fever - bute is our go to. Banamine is an NSAID, but is more for muscle pain and is often used when a horse is colicing or has a swollen eye. I have bute that I carry with me at all times, but work it out with your vet or trainer - and know how to use it and when and how much before you do. 

Ashley & Foxie

1 comment:

  1. Great article on some great kit to take care of your horse. Don't forget the horse supplements that can help their performance. thanks, keep calm and keep riding.