Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When bad things happen to nice critters

It's yet another drizzly, gray and soggy day, so I decided to clean and organize my Emergency Kit. I expect some of you folks with livestock may have something similar. We have found that it is best to be prepared to handle any critter emergency as best we can, ourselves. We have only recently had access to a vet that will see goats, for example, and we do have a bird vet that is happy to see chickens, but he ain't cheap!
I like to keep all of my first aid items together, so if anything happens, I can just grab it and run! It is better, in my mind, to have all this stuff and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Also, our dear critters seem to like to have any emergencies on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, when the stores are closed and the vets charge double, or worse, are not available at all. So, here's what I got:

A variety of scrubs, disinfecting solutions, my own calendula salve, and antibiotic ointment. Not pictured, but also helpful, is Swat, a fly repelling ointment made for horses. It is especially helpful in the summer for superficial wounds when maggots can become an issue. Ewww, Yeah. Vetwrap self adhering bandage material, a fantasic invention-I can even bandage little bird toes with this stuff, gauze, non stick dressings, tape, etc. Scissors that stay in the kit! Seriously, when you are in a panic because your precious boo boo is gushing blood you do not want to be running around the house looking for your scissors.

Scary stuff! A variety of syringes for flushing wounds, giving water or medications; the one with the little cup attached is for gentle irrigation. Sterile syringes and Penicillin G, which actually lives in the refrigerator, is an excellent injectable broad spectrum antibiotic suitable for a variety of species. I don't use it much, but is invaluable for preventing infection when someone has been bitten or scratched by a wild animal. Cat bites are the worst! All cotton thread and gut for stitches. Hemostats. Lubricating jelly and latex exam gloves. I am glad I did this, it reminded me that I really need a thermometer. I am also lacking activated charcoal in case of poisoning. I am making a mental note-there.

Other things we keep on hand:

B vitamins-the miracle goat cure. Anytime our goats have had stress or trauma, we give them a B-complex vitamin, I don't know why, but it always works.

Bach rescue remedy

homeopathic Arnica montana 30 c. A treatment for bruises and muscle soreness, but also incredibly helpful in the case of acute shock and trauma. I gave Gladys six pellets under her tongue while we were waiting for the vet to arrive, and she was on the ground convulsing. She visibly relaxed and calmed down.
Sorghum, honey, or molasses. A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. All of these are also rich in trace nutrients and very healthful. A weak animal will typically have low blood sugar-it gives them a little energy boost.

A plant everyone ought to know about. Cranesbill, or Wild Geranium. The whole plant works as a hemostat, internally and externally. I have some dried and powdered, and I made a tincture. When one of my old roosters broke his spur the other day, and was bleeding fairly profusely, I tried applied direct pressure first, and that wasn't working. A cranesbill was nearby, so I simply chewed up a few leaves, applied them to the wound, and dang if it didn't work like a charm. Plants are your friends.

It is very sad when something happens to beloved animals, but as a farmer, it is inevitable that something will happen sometime. Best to be prepared.


KM said...

Timely post! Thanks for all the good lists. Now I just have to figure out how to use all that stuff...

Billie Jane said...

It really is a good reminder that with animals comes responsibility. Easy to forget this when faced with cute baby creatures. Thanks for a really good post.

j.d.h. said...

wow, Sara. you kick butt! good to know about the cranesbill, one i didn't know. and now i also know what to do with it.