The first thing you need in a first aid kit is some diagnostic tools. A stethoscope to check the animal’s heart rate and a thermometer to take their temperature. A normal heart rate for a horse is 36-40 beats per minute. A horse with a minor colic will have a heart rate of about 48 times per minute. Remember to count the heart rate as “lub-dub” for one count, not two. A heart rate over 60 indicates a severe problem. If your horse’s heart rate is over 60 beats per minute and does not decrease with homeopathic remedies and Pro Bi or KLPP; give the Banamine. If the pain and elevated heart rate continue or worsen, try to get the horse to a veterinarian. If you do not have a stethoscope, you can also take the horse’s pulse by putting your fingers across the vein that runs around the edge of the horse’s jaw. It is located where the jaw starts to bulge out in a round curve about half way between the muzzle and ears. A horse’s temperature should be between 99 and 101 degrees. A horse with a temperature of 103 or higher probably has a fever.
Temperatures over 105 degrees can be dangerous. A horse with a temperature over 105 degrees can be cooled by applying alcohol or cold water to the jugular vein located in the furrow of the neck, nose, and legs. Horses that are not eating will most likely either have colic or a respiratory infection. A horse with colic will usually have a normal or decreased temperature; where as a horse with an elevated temperature will usually have a respiratory infection. Exceptions are horses with an infection or inflammation in their stomach that can cause colic with a fever, and other causes of infection such as an infected wound. ABC probiotic or Kam’s KLPP liquid is very useful to treat colic or stomach ulcers. Give the horse 30cc orally if he is acting colicky. You can repeat the Probi or KLPP two to three times daily to help to rebalance the horse’s normal gut flora. Homeopathic remedies can be purchased online from Washington Homeopathic or other online vendors. They come in different potencies; a good potency for a first aid kit is between a 9C and a 30C. You can also buy the remedies at your local health food store. Homeopathic remedies are most easily carried in the form of sugar pills soaked in the medicine. You can place the small pill in your horse’s mouth or you can dilute it in a little water in a syringe and squirt it into their mouth. The animal should not be given food or water for five to ten minutes before and after you give them the remedy. It is best to keep your remedies out of direct sunlight, away from a heat source, and not close to radio or computer equipment.
Arnica is the first thing that comes to mind when I prepare a first aid kit. Arnica montana is used for any type of trauma, from a small bruise to falling off a mountain. Rhus tox is good for tendon and ligament sprains. Ruta gravolens is good for bone bruises. Silica is used to get foreign bodies such as splinters and thorns to come out. Silica is also used to get a hoof abscess to open and drain. Ledum palustre is used for puncture wounds and insect bites. Lachesis is used to treat spider bites. Apis and Urtica urens are both remedies that work well for insect bites, more specifically bites from wasps and ants. Arsenicum album is good for diarrhea. Calcarea fluorica is helpful for back pain. Carbo vegetabilis, Colocynthis, and Nux vomica are good for treating colic. Symphytum helps with fractures. Hypericum is good for nerve pain. Phosphorus is will help stop bleeding. Euphrasia is used to treat eye problems. Echinacea will treat infections. Calendula is good for open wounds. Aconite will help with fear, anxiety and panic. You can repeat the remedies every five to fifteen minutes depending on the severity of the symptoms.
You can also carry calendula solution to wash out a wound. Hydrogen peroxide is useful to clean out a dirty wound. The peroxide is irritating to healing tissue, and should only be used the first day. Tea tree oil is a good antiseptic for wounds, and can also be used to treat fungal dermatitis. Grapefruit seed extract is another antibacterial and antifungal product, and can be diluted and given orally to treat infection. Colloidal silver is another very good antibacterial product. Strong smelling or tasting products can antidote homeopathic remedies. Do not store your homeopathic remedies near the tea tree oil, because the vapors could neutralize your remedies.
You will also need vet wrap and cotton to bandage legs. Banamine paste is handy for treating unrelenting pain. Duct tape is good to apply to the bottom of a hoof to keep it clean and protect it. If you are going to be in an area where you cannot easily trailer out to a veterinarian, you may want to also carry lidocaine to numb wound edges and suture material to close a wound. You should be able to purchase lidocaine and suture material from your local veterinarian. You will need some type of needle and needle holder to put in the sutures. A gallon of mineral oil can be given via a syringe or poured into the horse’s mouth from a large plastic soda bottle. Be sure that you don’t get the oil in your horse’s lungs. You should be ok as long as you don’t lift the horses head up too high when administering the oil. Mineral oil is given for colic. It is most helpful if the horse has impaction colic and is constipated due to the blockage.
Rescue Remedy can be purchased at the health food store or online, and comes in a spray for easy administration. It can be helpful to calm a stressed horse or treat shock. Divide your kit into a small satchel that you can carry with you when you ride and a larger container holding items that you will want to leave in your horse trailer. If I was going to take a few remedies with me on my saddle, I would take Arnica montana for trauma, rhus tox for sprains, phosphorus for stopping bleeding, apis for insect bites and stings, and nux vomica for colic.