Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Apply Lower Limb Support Bandage or Standing Wrap

A standing wrap is commonly used to protect and provide support and pressure to the lower limb in cases of injury or wound, and to control or reduce swelling. The bandage is composed of a roll of 4″ Vetrap, part of a roll of 3″ Elastikon, and a layered sheet cotton (leg cotton).

This is a more conforming bandage than most reusable wraps and so is a good choice for early treatment of a wound or injury. In some cases, a reusable wrap can substitute for this, applied over a cotton under-bandage or a commercial quilt.

Procedure

Always have contact with and control of your horse before starting a procedure.

Remove any debris on the limb before applying the wrap and perform whatever treatments are needed. Snugly wrap the leg cotton around the lower limb, with the lower edge of the cotton sheets about 1" off the ground.

Direction is not critical, but for consistency I recommend you wrap the "flexor tendons" inward, meaning that you wrap the left legs counterclockwise and the right legs clockwise. Ensure that the cotton lays flat with minimal bunching or creasing.

Starting about one inch below the top of the cotton, begin wrapping the Vetrap™ with enough tension to smooth out the dimples as you wrap across the front of the limb. With each turn, overlap the tape by about half the tape’s width.

Increase pressure slightly each time you make a turn around the front of the limb and reduce this tension slightly when wrapping the back of the leg (to avoid placing too much pressure on the flexor tendons). Work your way down to within an inch of the bottom of the cotton, then begin working your way back up until you run out of Vetrap™.

Now lay down Elastikon with very little tension, on the top and bottom of the bandage and onto the skin to prevent debris from getting in and to keep the cotton edges from fraying. Ensure that the Elastikon and Vetrap ends are stuck down well to the underlying tape. Cut the Elastikon with bandage scissors.

Tips for safety & Success

Keep your materials in a box or carry-all but keep them out of the way of the horse. Take the plastic wrap off the Vetrap™ before you begin. Always place adequate padding under the bandaging tape. The lower end of the wrapping should be an inch or so from the edge of the cotton so there is not direct pressure from the Vetrap™ on the skin.

Stand outside of the plane of your horse's limb at all times. If you are bandaging a mule of questionable attitude, be aware of all planes! Be ready to move out of the way by only having one knee on the ground at a time. Have an assistant at the horse's head on the same side as you are at all times.

When in doubt, do not perform this skill without seeking additional guidance from your vet or trainer. A poor or improper support wrap or bandage can do more harm than good.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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