My Medicine Cabinet

A happy cow is a healthy cow. But there are times when she will get sick. Thankfully I’ve only had to treat my lovely Jersey for a common cold, but caution has taught me to always have supplies on hand. What if for some reason I can’t get downtown? What if I can’t get hold of a vet? What if she goes down with Milk Fever, a sudden, fatal disease? What if she gets an injury? That’s when having a medicine cabinet stocked saves not only a huge amount of panic but maybe a life as well.

So what do I have in my medicine cabinet:

  • Organic Cold Spring Farm Anti Worm and Parasite – available at Mcdowell&Walker – $13
  • DE – Diatamaceous Earth
  • Baking Soda – free choice – helps to prevent bloat
  • Sho-Glo –  a Vitamin and Mineral Supplement – available at Tractor Supply – $15
  • Bounce Back – electrolytes
  • Copper Sulfate – useful treatment for Udder and Hoof Rot
  • Petroleum Jelly – lubricant
  • Thermometer – no outfit is complete without a thermometer!
  • Teat Bandages – in case of a teat injury
  • Vick’s Chest Rub
  • Draw Out Salve
  • Antiseptic Healing Gel: our homemade version contains Aloe Vera jelly, Tea Tree essential oil, Lavender essential oil, Camphor essential oil, Vit. E
  • Badger Balm – a soothing lotion
  • Vitamin E supplement
  • Ascorbate Vitamin C
  • Triodine-7 – a triple source iodine tincture antiseptic/disinfectant
  • Excell Goat Udder Care – yes, it says Goats, but I bought it for my cow 😛 It’s an Alternative Herbal Treatment for Mastitis control available at Hoegger’s Goat Supply.com
  • Oral Cal MPK – a liquid calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous drench given pre-birthing and post-birthing to prevent Milk Fever
  • Fight Bac – a spray Teat Disinfectant for Mastitis control
  • OB gloves – in case the calf needs repositioning
  • Rope/OB chain – to pull the calf
  • Syringe – an ear syringe will do just fine.
  • 35 ml shot with needle
  • 3 ml shot with needle – you never know when you’ll need to give a SubQ or Intramuscular. Best thing is to just have them handy.
  • Molasses – the highest calcium-iodine rich food. Cows love it! I use it as an Electrolyte-Power drink for my Daisy after she calves.

This is by no means the only medicine cabinet supply list out there. It’s just what I felt was necessary to have on hand; and certainly others may build off it to assemble their own medical apparatus.

I also like to have bulk herbs stored. Particularly Thyme and Garlic. They both are marvelous expectorants. Garlic however contains sulpher compounds that boost the immune system while at the same time being antifungal, antiseptic, and antipyretic – to name just a few from a whole family of anti’s!  It truly is an amazing herb. And if I hadn’t stocked up on garlic beforehand, I seriously would have lost an animal this past winter.

See, earlier this year – mid March – my 2 month old heifer came down with pneumonia. I didn’t know for sure; only guessed it – almost positive because of the white discharge clogging her nose. Dull and listless, her temp escalated to an alarming 104. Harsh breath rattled in her throat. It was 11 pm – on a Saturday night. No stores were open – no vets were on the road. I was alone. I knew I had to do something – something fast. But the only thing I had wasVicks’ Chest Rub and Garlic.

I stayed up nearly all night that Saturday – fighting a raging fever; desparately shoving garlic cloves down a sick critter’s throat; drenching her with garlic water so she wouldn’t get dehydrated; wanting to cry with helpless frustration. But it paid off. Bleery-eyed, I popped in the thermometer the next morning and thrilled to see the reading come back at a lovely 102.3! I still continued feeding garlic for a week, 2-3 cloves per day, until I was sure all danger had passed. During that week I had the vet check my heifer. Sure enough,my guess was right – my Jersey/holstein had had pneumonia. The vet was surprised at how perky my heifer seemed, explaining that usually, with pneumonia, calves are sicker ‘n a dog. So I told her about that night’s vigil.

“I guess that garlic saved her life,” was her response.

Even so, she gave me a bottle of NuFlor: to nip things in the bud. And the terrifying part was I had to give my little heifer a shot! I did it – but it was the hardest thing I have ever done.

Preparedness is the key. It always pays to have supplies on hand – I don’t know when I’ll need them, or for that matter if I’ll even use them; but at least it’s there and it sure is a comfort.

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