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Many horseowners now prefer to administer first aid to their horses without using conventional drugs. The following list represents what I keep on hand for emergencies. While I do use other remedies for specific problems, this basic list is a good starting point for anyone wishing to create their own first aid kit.

Please note that I do not advocate treating your own horse without consulting your veterinarian. Many non-holistic vets are not well informed concerning the use and safety of these substances, but when used correctly they are very safe and are not known to interfere with conventional drugs, and may be administered concurrently. These are suggestions only, and it is the reader's responsibility to educate themselves in their proper use.

Holistic First Aid Kit

• Your vet's phone number
• Bach Rescue Remedy or equivalent
• Homeopathic Arnica 30C
• Homeopathic Ledum 30C (see Ledum below)
• Homeopathic Hypericum 30C (see Hypericum below)
• Homeopathic Aconite 30C
• Homeopathic Apis 6C or 12C
• Calendula tincture
• Hypericum (St. John's Wort) tincture
• Ledum tincture
• Arnica tincture
• A good probiotic
• "Homeopathy for Horses: A Layperson's Guide" by Susan Shaw.
• Homeopathic Materia Medica (optional, but highly recommended!)
• Bottle of spring water for diluting the tinctures
• Little bottles to put diluted tinctures in
• Syringes of various sizes, without needles, for the above tinctures
(Or a little spray bottle for the Calendula and/or St. John's Wort)
• Vaseline
• Betadine surgical scrub
• A box of gauze pads
• A roll of absorbent cotton for cleaning wounds
• A couple of rolls of self-adhesive bandage, e.g. Vetwrap.
• A package of Animalintex, gauze-style poultice/bandage.
• Rectal thermometer
• Blunt-ended scissors
• The all-important roll of DUCTAPE! for anything and everything.

Directions for use:

If you are not already very familiar with the use of homeopathic remedies, please read my comments on how these remedies are used as well as referring to more in-depth sources.

Bach Rescue Remedy for both horse and handler in the event of any trauma, whether physical or emotional.
Like homeopathic remedies, frequency of dosage is more important than volume. A drop or two under the tongue several times until calmness is restored.
For the horse, use a small syringe, fill with bottled water, add a few drops of Rescue Remedy, and squirt a little into mouth as needed. If syringe not available, place a few drops on fingers and gently rub onto horse's lips or muzzle, or if not safe to do this, anywhere where it can reach the skin.
Rescue Remedy should be the first thing you reach for.

Homeopathic Arnica 30C -- Along with Rescue Remedy, the first line of defense in any physical trauma. Other remedies may be used after or concurrently (but should be taken at least 30 minutes apart for optimum effect).
Particularly useful also for blows, bruising, swelling as a result of injury. Some people use it instead of bute in these situations. Can help reduce inflammation and thereby ease pain.
3-10 granules in the mouth. In acute cases may be repeated every 15-30 minutes to maintain comfort. For minor bruising, administer 3 times a day for 3 days, or until noticeable improvement is observed.

Homeopathic Ledum 30C -- 3-10 granules in the mouth. For any wound that is deeper than it is wide. 3 times a day for 5 days. I use Ledum tincture at the same time, below.

Homeopathic Hypericum 30C -- 3-10 granules in the mouth. For deep or extensive lacerations. 3 times a day for 3 days. I use Hypericum tincture at the same time, below.

Homeopathic Aconite 30C -- 3-10 granules in the mouth. First line of defense when horse shows sudden signs of discomfort, as in colic or early stage of influenza. Give as soon as possible. In colic, give every 15-20 minutes for first hour, then reassess with a view to selecting another remedy. In other cases, give 3 or 4 times a day for the first day only. If given early enough, it may fend off worse symptoms. This is not a remedy for long term use.

Homeopathic Apis 6C or 12C -- 3-10 granules in the mouth. For insect bites or stings, or swellings that mimic insect bites. For some forms of edema.

Calendula tincture (dilute with bottled water 1:10 or 1:15) for all superficial cuts. Not for internal use. Disinfects, soothes, acts as an astringent, and heals faster than you'll believe without scarring. Use generously on wound as often as possible. Also makes a safe eye wash when diluted at least 1:20.
Calendula gel or ointment isn't critical but nice to have on hand for those times when you need to keep the wound moister (but it tends to heal slower). I use Calendula externally for all kinds of things - except for anything that needs to heal from the inside out, like punctures and deep lacerations (it would close the wound too fast). I've used it not just on wounds, but also some fungal infections, thrush and what appeared to be white line disease with great success, and tincture diluted 1:10 or 1:15 makes a great eyewash as well.

Hypericum (St. John's Wort) tincture, diluted as for Calendula, for deeper and messier lacerations that need to heal somewhat from the inside first. May be combined with Calendula or Ledum as appropriate. Not for internal use. Use generously and as often as possible.

Ledum tincture, diluted as for Calendula, for deep wounds and any wounds that are deeper than they're wide, such as puncture wounds. Not for internal use. Calendula contra-indicated because it will seal the wound too quickly. Use generously and as often as possible.

• Arnica tincture, diluted as for Calendula, for use on bruises and muscle/tendon sprains. May be used undiluted for acute cases.To be used *only on unbroken skin*. Not for internal use. May be used as a leg brace.

• Don't dilute the complete tincture bottle contents all at once, it goes a loooong way and you need only make up small batches.

Rectal thermometer with loop at end -- attach a large alligator clip via at least 6 inches of wool or string, to snap onto tail so thermometer doesn't disappear irretrievably into horse! :-)

• You could get a whole bunch of other stuff, but some of it'll probably just sit in your first aid kit, and the above list will get you by for most things. Better to add things as needed as you go along, and as you see what kind of things your horse'll need - not all horses need the same things.

• I haven't included any specific colic remedies in this list as there are several possibilities depending on the symptoms, and as you become more skilled in using homeopathic remedies, you will become aware of what those remedies are.

Materia Medica -- If you want to get serious about homeopathic first aid, you really need to invest in a good Materia Medica. This is a homeopathic "bible" that lists hundreds of homeopathic remedies and most of the symptoms associated with each.

Please remember these are suggestions only, your veterinarian should still be consulted, and it is recommended that you educate yourself in the correct application of homeopathic remedies before using them unsupervised.

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Last updated December 22, 2000

K. Woollatt. All rights reserved