Equestrian Dreams: The Secret Ingredients of a Good Horse Medicine Cabinet

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What's in a Horse Medicine Cabinet

Part of my dream to be an accomplished equestrian involves the everyday task of taking care of a horse. Readers, you said you wanted to know what caring for a horse was like . . . so here it is  – the contents of my Horse Medicine Cabinet . . . and trust me – I use all of it.

There’s  . . .

1.  Pain Relief: Bute and Banamine: I think of Bute as “horse aspirin”.  I use it for slight lameness.

For those times when your horse looks just a bit “off” but you don’t think its something to call the vet over. I use Banamine specifically for mild colic or stomach pain. For example, in the case of my 20 year old horse Stormy, if I don’t have any UlcerGard, I use a dose or two of Banamine to help initially settle his stomach ulcers down until I can get to the vet to pick up some UlcerGard. Caution is required when using either of these drugs.  Both Banamine and Bute can easily mask symptoms.   That can lead to problems.

For example, with Banamine and a mild colic:  your horse starts may feel a bit better so they eat a bit, you think things are o.k. and wait on calling the vet.  More food leads to further impaction, which leads to a worse colic. Then, when the vet gets there, the symptoms are not as acute so its difficult for the vet to determine just what he or she is dealing with.  So, my basic rule is I always call and check in with my vet, describe the symptoms as they are un-medicated, and then follow their advice.

2.  Bandages: 2 sets of polo wraps (2 so that 1 can be in the laundry; 1 on your horse).  “Quilts” or standing wraps.   “Vet wrap” – love this stuff and all the colors it comes in!   Gauze of various widths.   Elastikon – expensive but worth it.  It sticks and stays stuck.   Cotton – balls and in a big sheet (which I use more than I ever thought I would).  Horse bandagesHorse bandages and pads

3. Cleaning: Strong Iodine Tincture 7% – Stronger than Betadine.  Use for cleaning out wounds, scraps, etc.   Nolvasan – Not to be used on your horse!!  This is a strong disinfectant to use around the stable.  Very good for when one horse has something contagious and you want to keep it from spreading.  Read all the warning labels on it for proper use.

4.  “Lotions, Potions, & Stuff to Smear On”: Fura-ZoneA topical anti-bacterial that’s neon yellow!   Icthammol  – Unlike pretty neon yellow Fura-Zone, Icthammol ointment is black and nasty looking.  Its also a topical wound ointment but, in my mind, it has more drawing out properties.

  • Scarlet OilYep, its bright scarlet in color.  Yet another topical anti-bacterial.  My horses are not fond of the smell of it.
  • Corona Use once your horse’s cut has started to heal to keep the scab soft and help prevent scarring.
  • Wonder DustUse to prevent the growth of proud flesh (i.e., scar tissue).
  • Swat Neon pink!  (Don’t you love all the colors of this stuff?)  An ointment to keep flies out of wounds.  Kopertox – Treats thrush (a smelly, awful, hoof condition).  Oh, its bright green.
  • Rubber Gloves to smear all this stuff on with!How to Be Your Own Veterinarian Sometimes

5.  How to Be Your Own Veterinarian (Sometimes) by Ruth B. James, DVM: I refer to this book all the time.  Its written in very easy to understand language.  Dr. James uses the horseman’s terms for things, rather than medical terms so you know what she’s talking about.

There are a lot of pictures and lots and lots of practice advice on everything from minor scraps to how to euthanize a horse if there’s no vet available.  But, it is also very clear on when its time to call your vet.

If you’re going to do any of your own “vet”  care, I strongly recommend this book.

I have a lot of other things on hand, but, when I went out this morning and looked at my tack room shelves and asked myself, “What would I not want to be without?” the above items are what I came up with.

In dreaming, the devil is in the details.  My dream happens to involve the care of a horse.  What does your dream involve?

‘Til next week!


Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working  on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian