Treating Equine Injuries When You’re On Your Own
A Practical Layman’s Guide for Horse Owners
By Helen Miller, Miller’s Equine Wound Care
Every horse owner knows that panicky feeling when your horse is injured or sick. Anything and everything can be life threatening. Knowing what to do and how to do it when your vet is not available can save your horse's life or prevent permanent disability. This article covers the most common types or situations from a layman's point of view and offers general guidelines for when no vet is available, your trailer is out of commission, or you are too far away to get to a vet in a timely fashion. This is not an exhaustive overview, but a set of guidelines to help you get through an emergency. Review these suggestions with your vet who knows you and your horses and get his/her advice.
Using Miller's in an Emergency
Use Miller's as a hand cleaner before touching your horse's injury.
Use Miller's as a wound cleaner if necessary. (kills germs, fungus, viruses, pathogens)
Miller's salve or spray can be applied directly by hand or
with a sterile tissue, paper towel, pad or swab to an open sore, injury, cut, laceration or wound.
If possible use Miller's Spray. It is more concentrated and the aerosol
combines oxygen with the essential oils which makes it more effective.
For a puncture wound or deep cut, fill a sterile syringe with Miller's Spray or Salve and insert it into the
wound or puncture and apply inside the wound.
Let the wound drain on its own.
If possible, apply Miller's spray or salve and wrap with a sterile bandage for 24 hours. Then, remove the bandage and re-apply Miller's.
If any injury cannot be wrapped, apply Miller's salve or spray every few hours. Let the wound drain.
Apply salve or spray to the entire area at least twice a day until healing is well underway.
To provide a physical barrier to pathogens, use Miller's salve.
To reduce scarring, keep applying Miller's until healing is complete.
May be used for wounds, cuts, abrasions, lacerations, punctures, sores, skin injuries, bites, insect bites, stings, ringworm, dock itch, summer's itch, insect infestations, mites, ticks, gnats, lice, mange, demodex, thrush, rain scald, rain rot, dandruff, warts, allergic reactions, sweet itch, ear mites, aural plaques, ticks, shoeing nicks, viral outbreaks.....just about any skin condition or injury.
If your vet does not know about Miller's Equine Wound Care
we will be happy to send you samples to give to your vet with your recommendation!
Universal Rule # 1 - Know when to call your vet. (Also known as: Do No Harm)
General guidelines for calling the vet include a persistent condition or one that is getting worse. Call your vet if your horse may have a broken bone, is bleeding heavily, is
unable to rise, is sweating, is breathing heavily, trembling or has a temperature.
If you are uncertain, call your vet.
Universal Rule #2 - Always have your cell phone & a halter with you
Universal Rule #3 - Google it!
There is a mountain of information on the internet to help you through an emergency if your vet is not available. Read more than one article. Use your judgement and rely on your experience. Call a neighbor or friend or horse owner to come assist you.
Universal Rule #4 - A cut, laceration or puncture usually cannot be stitched
after it has been cleaned or treated in the field.
If it is serious, get your horse to the vet ASAP. Serious means an artery or vein cut and very heavy bleeding. A sterile compression bandage should be applied if there is heavy bleeding.See the guidelines below if you feel you must take action now.
Universal Rule #5 - Keep your Vet Kit stocked up
If you are leaving your barn for an extended period, keep an emergency vet kit in
your saddle bag or pack. What should you have in your vet kit? Here's a simple list:
1. Sterile bandages, gauze, wound cleaner & vet wrap
2. Bute, Banamine & Benadryl
3. An equine thermometer
4. Scissors, tweezers and a sharp knife
6. Needles and syringes
7. Disposable gloves
8. Clips and tape
9. Stethoscope and flashlight
10. Saline solution
11. Detergent or soap and a bucket or bowl
12. Rubber tube (for snake bite on the nose)
13. Locking forceps, hemostat, pliers and hammer
14. Paper towels
Universal Rule #6 - Know when a skin injury, wound, sore or condition should
be bandaged and when it should be left to the open air.
Some cuts, lacerations or punctures cannot be stitched or wrapped. If an injury is bleeding and can be wrapped and, if compression is a benefit, then wrap it. Be careful not to cut off circulation. Once the healing process is on its way, fresh air help speed healing.
Universal Rule #7 - Know when your horse needs a systemic antibiotic or other medication.
A serious cut or bite will likely require an antibiotic to curb more serious systemic infection. Some fungal infections require an antifungal often dispensed in pill form over several days. If you horse has an allover fungal condition not accompanied by sores, a body wash using 1 part bleach to 10 parts water may kill the fungus.
Universal Rule #8 - Learn the signs of colic and lameness.
Colic is characterized by a noticeable lack of gut gurgling sounds, restlessness, getting up and down frequently, nipping at the abdomen, high respiration rate and general "something's not right." Often due to abrupt changes in feed, too much rich feed, anxiety and or stress. If you are accustomed to administering banamine, the general guideline is 10 cc for an average sized horse. Even injected in the hip area, banamine can help control pain. Generally, keeping the horse moving helps digestion and relief of the blockage. Some cases of colic are life-threatening from the outset.
Lameness can be caused by a bruise, sole injury, stress to muscles, ligaments or tendons or laminitis. Lameness can result in permanent injury. If your horse's hoof is hot and you can feel the pulse, call your vet and begin hydration with cool or cold water until the hoof feels cool. If the heat is severe, carefully place your horse’s foot in a plastic tub of icewater. 2 cc. Of bute will help bring down inflammation. Keep your horse on soft bedding and confined until you get a diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
Universal Rule #9 - If you only have one thing in your vet kit, make sure it is Miller's.
Because of it’s universal therapeutic properties Miller’s Equine can be the most valuable tool in your vet kit for a cut, sore, wound, laceration or puncture. Miller’s blend of essential oils kills germs, bacteria, fungi and viruses. Miller’s blocks infection, reduces inflammation, relieves pain and itching and keeps insects at bay. You can use Miller’s as a hand cleaner for yourself and as a wound cleaner if nothing else is available. Miller’s quickly provides relief for insect bites and stings and works as a mosquito and midge repellent for your horse, your dog, and for you. Our universal caution: some people and animals may be allergic to the plant oils in our formula. A skin patch test will help you determine this.
For severe sunburn, burns or abrasions, Miller’s may briefly cause a stinging reaction. This passes very quickly but when in doubt, dilute with any vegetable oil or wipe off. For injuries too sensitive to touch, use Miller’s Spray and beware the striking hoof!