Do you have an updated Horse First Aid Kit ? Many horse owners have a real mixture of products in their Horse First Aid Kit, so what don’t you need? In this article I will outline 5 items that you don’t need in your kit, and you can read more about what to include in this article (LINK)
- Blue spray
Blue or purple spray is much loved by horse owners, and most will have a tin in their Horse First Aid Kit. However this is not an appropriate product to put on a wound, it is much too drying, and has limited active ingredients. To create the best healing environment a wound needs to be kept moist and clean, and sprays do not contribute to optimal healing. A better product to apply would be a hydrogel which won’t damage the delicate tissue, and will help keep the wound moist.
Blue spray can be helpful for ‘thrush in the foot’, a bacterial infection around the frog which results in the hoof becoming black or smelly. Relegate the blue spray to the back of the cupboard, and don’t be tempted to use it on wounds.
It often comes as a surprise to owners that hibiscrub is not the best product to clean wounds with as it is too harsh, it kills good cells as well as bad cells in a wound and can actually dealing healing. We recommend that saline solution is used as this is less damaging to the wound and promotes a better healing environment. Hibiscrub is best kept for heavily contaminated wounds, and should be used only under guidance of your vet. Why don’t you relocate this to the back of the cupboard (along with the blue spray), or just use it to wash your own hands.
- Wound powder
Wound powder was certainly the staple of the Horse First Aid Kit 10 or 15 years ago, and many horse owners would still have some in their kit today. This is definitely a product to go in the bin, and it should not be applied to wounds. Wound powder can be difficult to apply to a wound, and it tends to form a thick ‘paste’ once applied, this clogs up the wound and will slow down healing. Wound powder won’t help promote a good healing environment and has no place in modern wound management when much better products, such as hydrogel, are available.
Medication, such as Phenylbutazone (Bute), is prescribed by your vet for a specific horse, relating to a particular condition to cover a set period of time. Some horses are on medication on a permanent basis, whilst others only need it for a short while. In reality many owners ‘stockpile’ medication such as bute, and keep it in their Horse First Aid Kit ‘just in case’. Firstly owners should not be self-diagnosing conditions in their horse, and should not give any form of medication without speaking to their vet. If your vet needs to see the horse it is very difficult for them to assess the true clinical picture because medication may mask some of the signs and symptoms, this could very much affect the prognosis of a case. Secondly a Horse First Aid Kit is not an appropriate place to store medication, which should be kept in a locked secure container. This way the sachets won’t be damaged, affected by sunlight or ‘borrowed’ by anyone else. It is also important to keep a record of any medication given, detailing the date, the name of the horse receiving it and the batch number of the product.
- Eye creams/ drops
Horse owners attending our Horse First Aid Courses are often surprised by how serious an eye condition can be, and our recommendation that any change in the horse’s eye is treated as seriously as a case of colic. All too often owners will try and ‘self-medicate’ an eye condition using leftover eye creams or drops, or human eye medication.
There are two main eye conditions that horses suffer from, Corneal Ulceration and Uveitis, and these require very different treatments. As a horse owner there is a high chance of using the wrong treatment and making the condition much worse, this could even result in the horse losing it’s eye and it is not worth the risk. If your horse has an eye condition requiring ongoing treatment your vet will advice you on the best way to store the medication, as eye drops often need to be kept in a fridge. Eye medication should be used within one month, and should not be used on multiple horses due to the risk of contamination and infection, so if you have any old eye creams or drops please put these in the bin. In my experience horse owners tend to keep anything that they think might be useful, but when it comes to the Horse First Aid Kit it is important to only be using products that are in-date. In the blog post ‘How to create the perfect Horse First Aid Kit’ I outlined the products that you need in your kit, and the majority of these would have a very long shelf life. Do check the date of hydrogel and Animalintex as these products won’t work as well if they are out of date.