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Equine First Aid

Must-Know Health Care Tips For Horse Owners

Southern States welcomes Dr. Daniel Slovis, a graduate of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, and a member of Three Oaks Equine Clinic in Goochland, Virginia. In this article, he offers some timely and helpful instructions on "must have" and "must know" first aid and health care tips for horse lovers.

Vital Signs

All horse owners should have an understanding of basic Equine First Aid. It is important to monitor the health of your horse and discuss any noticeable changes in their health with your veterinarian. If you become overly concerned that something "just isn't right", you should take a vital sign assessment of your animal. This assessment should include:

  • Heart/Pulse Rate (28-40 bpm)
  • Respiration Rate (9-16 bpm
  • Temperature (99.5 - 101.0 ºF
  • Gum Color and Texture (pink and moist
  • Gastrointestinal Sounds (always heard

These vitals should be relayed to your veterinarian who has the training to determine if the horse is sick, stressed, or in shock.

If your horse has a bleeding injury it is important to always stop the bleeding. Direct pressure to the wound is the best application. If the wound is on the lower leg a bandage can be used to apply direct pressure. It is also recommended that your vet be notified for consultation.

Vital Supplies

Horse owners will want to purchase Dr. Slovis' list of recommended products that all barns and horse trailers should have on hand.

Bandage Material

  • 4 X 4 Gauze
  • Non-Stick Telfa
  • Gauze Roll
  • Sheet Cotton or Pillow Wrap
  • Elastikon Tape Vet Wrap
  • Duct Tape

Cleaning Supplies

  • Roll Cotton
  • Betadine Scrub/Solution
  • Small Bucket


  • Thermometer
  • Stethoscope
  • Scissors
  • Flashlight/Head Lamp


  • Bute
  • Banamine
  • Biozide/Triple Antibiotic Ointment

Keeping your horses safe during the upcoming months of riding and competing is of prime importance. Make sure you consistently check your horse's vitals, keep first aid supplies easily accessible, and seek assistance from your local vet should any accidents or injuries occur.

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