Bandages are used for a variety of purposes: to give support to or restrain a limb, to maintain splints and dressings in position, to restrain bleeding, exert pressure, promote healing, and remove swelling. To effect the three last-named purposes a good deal of pressure may be necessary, and while the bandage has to be applied tightly, a considerable amount of care should be exercised to make the pressure even and avoid interference with the circulation.
There is no small amount of art in the proper application of bandages, as the reader may see for himself if he will compare the performance of the novice, whose bandage will not remain in position on a horse at rest, with the work of the expert which will continue intact when galloping and jumping have put it to every test.
Fig. 448. - Method of Rolling a Bandage.
Fig. 449.--A Simple Apparatus for Rolling Bandages 1, Wood framework. 2, Screw fixing to table or weight. 3, Bent stout wire crank. 4, Wire to guide and flatten bandage.
Both woollen and linen bandages are employed for horses, the latter being suitable only in those cases where evaporation from their surface and cooling of the part is the chief object desired.
Woollen bandages are used for a very great variety of purposes, and practice alone can render the attendant expert in their application. A few hints may here be given that will be found to bear fruit.
In preparing a bandage for application to the limb, the tapes attached to one end will require to be gathered together and the bandage rolled round them so as to make a small cylinder, which is to be held between the thumb and middle finger of the right hand, whilst the free portion of the bandage rests upon the index finger of the left hand (fig. 448). Thus held and supported it is rolled up into a firm regular cylinder. The most common position in which a bandage is required to be applied is below the knee and hock, and very little practice is needed to render a person efficient in the performance of this simple operation. With the patient standing-still, and a free end of about twelve inches of the bandage unfolded, we may proceed to make a cast round the limb. The free end is first placed upon the leg and the bandage unrolled over it. The bandage held in the right hand is then carried round the limb again and again until the whole is payed out. It is then secured by means of the tapes which are now set free. The chief point to be observed in going down the limb is to keep the top edge of the bandage tight, while permitting the lower edge to be slack; the reverse conditions being necessary in coming up again. In this manner the hollows and the eminences receive equal pressure, and the tapes are tied upon a double portion where their pressure is not likely to be objectionable. If bandaging the leg of a dog we should begin at the toes, but the horse having an unyielding hoof (so far as the pressure of a bandage goes) we do not do so, and for convenience usually begin above the fetlock, but do not put any great pressure on until we reach the pastern and begin to ascend the leg.
Fig. 450. - Bandaging a Fore-Leg, showing the method of applying the bandage over a pad of cotton-wool.
Fig. 451. - Bandaging a Fore-Leg, showing the bandage completed and tied. a, End of bandage with tapes.