Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Apply Full Limb Support Bandage, Stack Wrap

This is another step beyond application of a lower limb standing bandage or support wrap. A stack wrap is intended to encompass the whole bandageable limb. You are just adding or “stacking” a second bandage above the first, overlapping the lower bandage by several inches.

This might be used under a splint in a suspected fracture, to prevent injury to the whole limb, to cover large upper limb wounds, or to control swelling in the entire limb.

Procedure

Halter the horse and ensure that they are adequately restrained. Groom the horse’s leg(s) and remove any debris before applying the wrap. 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.

Starting about one inch below the top of the cotton, begin wrapping the Vetrap™ with enough tension to smooth out the dimples on the front of the bandage. 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 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™. Then lay down Elasticon with a little tension, on the bottom of the bandage and onto the hoof wall as well as possible.

Instead of adding elasticon to the top of the bandage, lay a second leg cotton over the top of the lower bandage, overlapping by 2 inches, and then apply the Vetrap™ to that. Try to create a figure eight layer over the carpus or hock.

If you wrap the carpus, when you are done you need to cut the Vetrap™ behind the point (accessory carpal bone) at the rear of the carpus. If this is a hock wrap, leave the Vetrap™ looser over the point of the hock, or use brown gauze to cover the point of the hock so that the cotton does not blow out over the point of the hock.

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 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. Be ready to move out of the way by only having one knee on the ground at a time.

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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