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First Aid for Your Horse
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First Aid for Your Horse

There are several things that can be done for a horse when the illness is a cold or an excessive amount of stress. Naturopathic and herbal remedies at home are easy to administer, and one does not need a full degree to understand how it works. However, there are times when you need much more than just a few fresh plants to heal your horse. Here are some of the suggestions when your horse has an injury and what you can do about it.

Of course, we have to come the understanding that a vet will be necessary in some cases. There’s no way around it. For example, to avoid infections, a tetanus shot is needed. If your horse has an open wound that looks too deep to clean yourself, the shot and maybe even antibiotics could be necessary. Some infections can be cleaned properly by rinsing (your hose is fine) with water, then cleaning with a vinegar, salt or even lemon juice mix, and you may not have to see the vet. However, if the wound is white and the area seems to grow instead of shrink, you know you have something on your hands that can’t be dealt with naturally or your horse could have a weak immune system. Another rule of thumb to follow is if the wound is made by puncture; in that case, it depends on the area – if it is close to internal organs, such as the abdomen and chest, go to the vet immediately. If it’s on the thigh, clean it and bandage it, checking every few hours. But, if the object or dirt is still stuck inside, don’t try to clean it because you could make matters worse.

Try to avoid antibiotics as much as possible. There are several natural alternatives that work just as well, do not cause dependence, and actually help to build the immune system along with getting rid of the infection.

If your horse seems to have an injury that makes it lame, use a wrap to support the area. If there seems to be a cut on a muscle, tendon or ligament (you can verify this by moving the body part gently) you may need stitches. You can always discuss with your vet to use a simple aloe vera gel to help stimulate the area and close up if the cut isn’t deep. However, if you see that the parts could end up reclosing the wrong way – without following the body’s natural lines, that is – you will have to accept stitches.

If what you are facing is a flap of skin, you could be able to treat the wound yourself, but the horse may be too hard to deal with at this point. The vet may even have to tranquilize your horse before attempting to start treating it. Open cuts like a bit of skin flap can be mended with aloe vera gel as well, but it could just be much quicker and easier with the stitches in. Apply the gel generously to help mend the wound faster. However, the minimum you can do, if your horse isn’t acting up every time you get close, is to clean the wound like any other before the vet arrives.

Any time a wound is close to a joint, just for prevention reasons, get X-Ray done. Better safe than sorry; you don’t want a hairline fracture that could become serious down the road.



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  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Vote no 3. Very informative blog, good advice here. I think, like you, that it best to avoid antibiotics if you can, for animals and for humans. Check out my latest blog, The Horse-meat Scandal, I am pretty sure you will be in 100% agreement with me!! :-)
    1. naturegirl
      Yes, as much as possible, especially if there are alternatives that don't harm you unless you take copious amounts - you would probably end up throwing up from taking too much before it could harm you to ingest natural herbal medicine because it's our food - and the horse's, too.
  2. PonyGirl
    I'm definitely a big believer in herbal medicine both for myself and my horse. I would add a little about tetanus,though. Horses (and people who work around horses) should have regular tetanus toxoid boosters: semi-annually for horses and every 5 years for horse people. If the horse has not been given his booster or if you are unsure and he gets a cut or puncture, he should be given a tetanus anti-toxin immediately and your vet may recommend antibiotics as well (depending on the severity and location of the wound.) And although I agree antibiotics are vastly over-prescribed and can cause unpleasant side effects, this is one time not to try alternative treatment. Once contracted,, if not treated early and aggressively, tetanus infection is fatal. And even with early intervention,the horse's chances are very poor. So be sure and keep up with your horse's tetanus boosters!

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