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There may be any number of occasions when you will need or want to bandage your horse's legs. Bandaging can provide both protection and support for the horse while working, traveling, resting or recovering from an injury.
For whatever purpose, it is essential that you use proper leg bandaging techniques. Applied incorrectly, bandages may not only fail to do their job, they can cause discomfort, restrict blood flow and potentially cause discomfort, restrict blood flow and potentially damage tendons and other tissue.
It is often said that it is better to leave a horse's legs unbandaged than to bandage them incorrectly. Fortunately, there is nothing complicated about learning to do this. It simply takes the right materials and a bit of practice.
Leg bandages are beneficial for several reasons:
A proper leg bandage generally has two or more layers: an ample amount of padding secured by a support bandage and sometimes a protective outer layer. If a wound is involved, gauze pads or a sterile, absorbent dressing may be required as well.
Padding is essential for protecting limbs. At least an inch or more of soft, cushioning material should be placed between the limb and the bandage to help disperse the pressure evenly and prevent blood flow from being restricted. Roll cotton, sheet cotton or leg quilts work well and are lightweight and comfortable.
Generally, the longer a bandage is to remain in place, the greater is the amount of padding needed.
There are many choices of bandaging materials, including track or polo wraps, cotton flannels, roll gauze, stable wraps or bandaging tapes such as Vetrap™, Elastikon™ and similar products.
The bandaging material should be at least four inches wide to avoid a tourniquet-like effect and allow for movement, and is less apt to cut off circulation as long as it is not pulled too tightly. As a general rule the more padding the wider the wrap material used over the top
If you have never bandaged a horse's legs before, ask your veterinarian or an experienced equine professional to demonstrate the proper techniques. Practice under his or her supervision before doing it on your own.
If you have any further question or concerns about bandaging techniques, do not hesitate to contact one of our technicians or veterinarians. As your animal health care partners, we have your horse's well being at heart. We always happy to explain and demonstrate sound health care practices.
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