how to bandage an injured horse's leg

Bandages need to be snug enough to stay put without being too tight. Here are tips to help make the job of bandaging a little easier.

First you need to have the proper materials at hand. Your first aid kit should include the following:

  • A non-stick pad (Telfa), preferably sterile, to apply directly over the cleansed wound.
  • Cotton (sheet or roll-type) or similar padding to wrap around the area to cushion against uneven bandage pressure. In a pinch, you can use a sanitary pad or clean leg quilt.
  • Roll gauze to hold the padding in place.
  • Elastic, self-stick bandaging material such as Elastikonor Elastiplast.

To start, place the non-stick pad over the wound. Next, apply a thin layer of cotton, padding or other cushioning material to encircle the leg area you are bandaging.

If you don’t have anyone to help you, use the roll gauze to hold the padding in place. This gauze material doesn’t stretch so be careful to wrap it snugly but not too tightly. The best material to use for the final outer layer is a stretchy, self-stick bandaging product it doesn’t tend to bind down tightly like non-stretch materials tend to do.

On each roll of the self-sticking tape you’ll see a red line in the middle of the roll. The line is a guide–if you just barely cover this red line with the next wrap around the leg, you’ll avoid gaps in the layers and the bandage isn’t likely to slip apart. Spiral the bandage up the leg as you wrap so you apply it at a very slight oblique angle. This further helps prevent slippage.

One of the best tips to avoid constricting your horse’s circulation or tendons is to pull the material over the front of the leg as you unroll it and then lay the material across the backside of the limb. It never hurts to consult your veterinarian for advice and instruction.