A well-stocked equine medicine cabinet is essential for every stable. A cool, protected area should be designated for medical supplies. A wide range of items will provide speed and efficiency in times of emergency. You should also have your veterinarian’s telephone number posted prominently near the telephone and make sure that everyone involved in your stable knows where it is. It is also a good idea to pin up your area code and zip code, as most emergency services have area code maps and having your code makes it easy for them to find you.
Your equine medicine cabinet should include a variety of dressings, including non-stick ones of varying sizes. You will also need bandages, Vetrap®, Gamgee®, cotton wool, surgical tape and a good pair of scissors. Antiseptic solutions, such as alcohol, gentle iodine and hydrogen peroxide will also be needed, as will wound powder and antibacterial spray. Softening creams such as zinc, castor oil or petroleum jelly are useful. Items that need protection, such as medications, thermometers, stethoscopes, syringes and tweezers can be stored in plastic supply drawers.
Also included in your equine medicine cabinet, should be liniments for bruises and strains, surgical spirits to harden skin around sore backs or girth gall areas. Kaolin poultices are good for swellings and strains, and a good stock of Animalintex® should be on hand. Because of their versatility, veterinarians recommend these pretreated poultice pads for wounds. They can be used for either hot or cold applications, specifically for abscesses and sprains. Water resistant wound dressings are perfect in combination with Vetrap®, for your horse’s inevitable cuts and scrapes.
Epsom salts and Stockholm tar (pine tar used extensively in hoof dressings) are two items your equine medicine cabinet should include. If you do not have antiseptic solution, non-iodized common salt can be added to water to make a safe alternative for cleaning wounds. Saline solution is also extremely handy as it will draw out the bacteria of any wound, yet has a pH balance to prevent excessive stinging.
Medications such as phenylbutazone (bute), banomine, acepromozine, arnica, and rescue remedy should always be available and current. Sunscreen, insect repellent and other miscellaneous items you prefer should be included. A bowl or bucket, large enough for your horse’s foot, should be placed near your equine medicine cabinet. All these items should be marked “medicinal” and used solely for medical purposes.
Keep your equine medicine cabinet clean, tidy and well stocked at all times so that you always have the essentials on hand should a problem arise. In a time of crisis, your horse’s comfort and safety are your primary concern so it will be comforting to have all your supplies check listed and in order. Your equine medicine cabinet will be a cost effective tool so that further injury or sickness is avoided.