Vita Animal Health has published the results of a small survey of 58 horse owners which found that all bar one kept a first aid box, and 57% of those kept a supply of phenylbutazone (Bute).

However, despite keeping this POM-V drug to hand, only 7% said they would seek advice for minor wounds and over 25% said they would not contact the vet even if their horse was lame.

This, says the company, raises concerns about the appropriate use of bute in wounded horses and suggests that practices should be providing first aid training for horse owners, covering basic wound management and when to seek veterinary advice.

The survey, which was posted on social media groups for horse owners, showed they were most likely to call out a vet if their horse had a deep wound (96% of respondents). However, only a third would seek veterinary advice for a wound that is bleeding.

Vita, which makes the veterinary-exclusive Omnimatrix skin cream, said that 84% of owners keep a topical treatment for minor wounds in their first aid box, but some use barrier creams that do not provide an antiseptic environment.

Tara Evans RVN, Head of Sales at Vita, said: "It is great to see that owners are equipped with a first aid box for their horses. However, our survey highlights that many are not seeking veterinary advice, even if their horse is lame. This raises concerns over horses receiving appropriate treatment in a timely manner. There is an opportunity for practices to review first aid boxes with owners to ensure they're stocking appropriate supplies, and discuss appropriate wound management."

Vita has created an owner guide for wound management in horses which you can download and give to clients, here: 

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