Doctor's Corner: Preparing for an Emergency
Knowing Your Horse's Anatomy
Familiarize yourself with the basics of equine anatomy. Detailed study is
not necessary, but attention to detail is absolutely essential.
- Look at your horse and take note of obvious blood vessels; some
of the more prominent ones are on the upper legs, chest and
- Bear in mind that the location of these vessels, along with the
nature of the horses themselves, makes them particularly
vulnerable to injury.
Stocking a First-Aid Kit
Have an emergency first-aid kit convenient at all times, including one in
an easily accessible, central location in your barn, another in your trailer
and a portable one for the trail.
- Keep the kit stocked with items to stabilize and treat wounds,
including a tourniquet, hemostat, bandage scissors,
antimicrobial solution, a large syringe, gauze pads and rolls,
elastic adhesive wrap, cotton roll, and an all-purpose healing
salve like MeliHeal.
- You’ll also need an easyboot for injuries to the foot and a roll of
duct tape to secure and waterproof bandages.
- And don’t forget to keep an extra Tetanus toxoid on hand in the
Using a Tourniquet
While you can apply a tourniquet to the tail and extremities, do this in
- You can use just about anything for a tourniquet, but a strip of
cloth, roll of gauze, or piece of rubber tubing works best.
- Place the tourniquet “above” the wound, between the injury and
heart. Tighten it by hand or use a stick as a lever. Loosen the
tourniquet briefly every 20 minutes and massage the area to
prevent tissue death.
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