Equine first aid- What is a Poultice?
Also called a cataplasm it is a common treatment used on horses to relieve inflammation and also to treat abscess wounds, where a build-up of pus needs to be drawn out.
It can be cold or warm, usually applied for 3 to 4 days maximum.
If you make it cold, It reduces inflammation, constricts blood vessels and arrest internal haemorrhage.
Made warm it is used to draw out infection, deep puncture wounds, ease bruising and cleanse wounds.
It will soften the tissues to release pus, sooth bruising.
What type should I use?
Glycerine and Epsom salts
This is mixed to a paste and can be applied cold.
This method is usually for a coronet abscess.
This is natural clay with the benefits of medicinal properties.
This can be applied cold or warm; and is prepared medical lint.
It has less of a clogging effect than kaolin but is more expensive to buy.
It is used for a punctured foot.
Bran and Epsom salts
This type is less common today, but still in use.
A boot is needed to prevent the horse from eating the bran.
The bran is placed in the bottom of a plastic bag. Place the horse’s foot into the bag.
A bandage is used to secure it and tie around the pastern.
Secure with gam gee and stable bandage.
Remember to support the good leg with gam gee and bandage.
The solution is ½ lb of bran and 3ozs of Epsom salts.
How do I apply a foot-poultice?
Scrub the foot clean and put the chosen cataplasm over the sole of the foot.
Cover with plastic to secure. Cling film is ideal.
Next, apply a Vet rap bandage over the foot.
To avoid pressure on the tendons keep the bandage low on the heel, then secure with Elastoplast.
Secure the Equi boot on the foot.
If you do not have one then a thick plastic bag or sack will do.
Protect the leg with Gam gee and a stable bandage for support.
Gam gee and bandage to the other leg “good leg” for support.
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