Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Medical Supplies I Keep On the Farm

Emergencies always seem to happen on the weekends (or holidays) after every human doctor office or veterinary  hospital has closed for the day. Luckily for humans, there is an emergency clinic about 30 minutes from me. But for animals? No such thing within 2 hours. So just when you really need that bottle of penicillin, it's past closing time for every livestock supply store on the island. And no vets available. Life just seems to happen that way. 

I've had several requests to talk about what sort of first aid kit or emergency meds to keep on hand. First of all, am I suppose to be talking about human stuff or animal stuff? Often it's the same stuff, but not always. Second, keep in mind that my previous career was in veterinary medicine. Therefore what I keep around on the farm will be far, far more extensive than the average person. 

Since human stuff tends to overlap animal stuff, I just can't give a list. So I'll speak in generalities, giving specifics  here and there. 

First aid equipment is always handy. Several clean non- lint hand towels. Tape. Gauze sponges. Gauze rolls. Self adhering tape (aka- vet-rap). Sharp scissors. Scapel blades or single edged razor blades. Bandaids. Butterflies. Cold packs. I also keep assorted suture material & suture needles, plus needle holders, hemostats, and forceps. Also bottles of skin adhesive, often called tissue glue. Actually I have veterinary surgical packs, but the average person wouldn't have that. Thus I have a nice assortment of clamps and "tissue grabbers". I also keep a couple of good intense flashlights because I want good lighting during an emergency. I have local anesthetics, plus some general anesthesia for animal use. And endotracheal tubes, which I'm sure non-vet oriented people don't keep around. Some blood clotting stuff and tourniquets. Wound disinfectant. Saline solution/eye wash. Eye anesthetic. Dental anesthetic. Various dental tools, again vet oriented. Also chemical sterilization for my instruments. 

Topical antibiotics. Topical anti-itch. Topical cortisone. Insect bite topical (ammonia or "after-bite"). Antihistamines. Epinephrine. Oxytocin. IV calcium. IV dextrose. IV fluids along with assorted IV equipment. Needles and syringes. Feeding syringes and feeding tubes. Urinary catheters. Splinting equipment. 

Miticides, flea & tick controls, dewormers. Various skin topical medications and treatments for the animals, though many are useable for humans too. Various ear treatments, both human and animal. 

Injectable antibiotics. Oral antibiotics. Other assorted medications, both injectable and oral. With livestock on the farm, good old injectable penicillin lives in my refrigerator at all times. 

Heavy duty nail trimmers. Hair clippers with a very close cutting blade. A pair of good pliers, yes pliers. They come in handy. And wire cutters.They come in real handy too. And a good loupe, which I prefer over a hand held magnifying glass. 

Most stuff can be purchased over the counter at various places. Pharmacies. Feed stores. Online. It's amazing what can be found in Walmart. But some of my medications are perscription only items. 

I almost never need the medical supplies I keep on hand, but there have been times that I've been extremely thankful to have them around. You never know when something will crop up. Ya know, like getting bitten by a donkey! Luckily I had everything on hand that I needed that day. 

I have always encouraged every animal owner to learn basic first aid and medical care. Sadly, I've never seen a short course offered for basic animal home medicine. Learning in person is far preferable to reading it online or in a book. But books are great and I believe that everyone should read about basic first aid and emergency medicine. 

I'm constantly showing other livestock owners how to take care of routine medical care on their animals. Access to local veterinarians in my area is quite limited and often beyond the finances of the little homesteader types. Thus animals here often don't get any medical care unless the owner can provide it. 

Even if a person has access to medical care, it surely can't hurt keeping an assortment of medical supplies on hand in case of an emergency. 


  1. "Ya know, like getting bitten by a donkey!"

    Do you still have Dink and Donk? They were so cute.

  2. After I was bitten, Dink was moved to a local donkey herd. She made the transition with little problems and appears to be comfortably settled in and doing fine.

    Since Dink left, Donk has become more people friendly. She follows me around, comes when called, and lets me work with her with no complaints. Donk and I are getting along wonderfully. I'm really enjoying the improved relationship that I have going with Donk!