Bandaging is used to keep wounds clean, keep medication in contact with a wound, stop wound bleeding, keep insects off of legs and wounds, warm the legs, provide support, and prevent or reduce stocking up (subcutaneous edema). It is very important to only use clean bandage materials. Bandage materials should be stored in a clean, dry cabinet or container.
Bandage materials for an all purpose bandaging kit should include:
- 4 quilts, pads and sheet cottons
- 3. 4 4″ standing bandages
- 4 x 4 inch gauze pads
- 4 x 4 inch non stick pads
- 4 inch stretch gauze
- 4 6inch wide rolls of brown gauze to hold padding in place
- 4 inch cohesive wrap such as vetwrap
- 3 or 4 inch elastic adhesive tape such as elasticon
- Electrical tape or porus medical tape such as zonas 1″ tape
- Saran wrap for sweats
- 4 inch wide elastic (stays fresher if kept in sealed plastic baggie)
Types of Bandages
Bandage over a wound. The wound should be cleaned with disinfectant and water, rinsed and gently patted dry. Apply medication to a 4 x 4 inch gauze pad and hold the gauze pad in place with rolled gauze, or place a non adherant pad or other covering as instructed by one of our staff members. Cover with a quilt or sheet cotton, apply the bandage and then tape
Support bandage. Wrap a quilt or sheet cotton from below the knee to mid pastern, apply the bandage and then tape. You may include brace or astringent under the bandage.
Sweat wrap. Using a rubber gloved hand, rub sweat medication lightly all over the area to be bandaged. Carefully apply plastic wrap around the leg and then apply a support bandage. This type of bandage cannot be left on for more than 24 hours and depending upon the medication applied a shorter period may be prefered.
Shipping or stable wrap. This wrap should be as large, tall and thick as possible, covering the heels if used for shipping. This wrap helps protect the legs during shipping, provides warmth for the leg joints, and helps reduce stocking up (edema).
Important Points in Bandaging
- Keep bandage materials clean. This avoids secondary skin problems.
- Change bandages at least daily, unless instructed otherwise.
- Keep bandage pressure equal with each wrap around the leg (not too loose and not too tight). When applying, push away from the tendon and pull toward the cannon bone.
- Remember the bandage must stay in place and not slip or it can bind and cause pressure points, rubs, or a “bandage bow”, which is a localized or generalized swelling around the tendon. A bandage bow requires specific treatment, so call your veterinarian.
- Don’t apply a leg bandage too tightly. This can produce a bandage bow if the padding is not thick enough, or not flat.
Call Your Veterinarian If:
You have any questions concerning bandaging. You observe swelling above the bandage. Your horse shows lameness, however slight, that was not present before bandaging. You believe that you have created a “bandage bow”.