Poulticing is messy, time-consuming and sometimes tricky to do. But it works. Poultices are a good way to cool, or warm, a problem area and encourage trapped edema fluids or infection to exit through the skin.
Medications and herbs can be incorporated into poultices for prolonged delivery, which lasts as long as the poultice remains moist. Hoof packs are actually poultices, too, and our application method can be used for those, too.
After deciding on the type of poultice you want to use (cooling or warming) put on a pair of nonsterile disposable gloves and place the required amount to cover the problem area into a plastic bag. Use a sandwich-size bag for smaller areas like hooves and around ankles or knees and big food-storage bags for larger areas.
If you want a warming poultice, heat the poultice in the microwave. For an extra-cooling effect, place the bag in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. After getting the correct temperature, put on another pair of gloves and cut off one entire side of the plastic bag — especially any self-sealing portions — leaving exposed poultice with a bottom later of plastic.
Wet the area to be poulticed with either cold or warm water, slap on the plastic with poultice underneath and mold the poultice to desired location and thickness through the plastic. Leave poultice as is or cover the pack with a standing wrap. Peel off your gloves and you’re done.
Once you get the hang of it, you can apply a perfect poultice in no time flat and walk away with barely a speck of poultice on your hands, or anywhere else.
Our top choices in poultices are Bickmore Basic H, Uckele Pull-Tight and Hawthorne Ice-O-Poultice. Our Best Buy poultice is Antiphlogistine from WF Young/Absorbine. For hooves, we like ABC Poultice and Hawthorne Sole Pack. The Kaeco Epsom Salt Poultice is excellent for drawing abscesses. (See our August 2004 issue.)
Contact your local tack store or: Bickmore, www.bickmore.com, 800-322-6569; Uckele, www.uckele.com, 800-248-0330; Hawthorne, www.hawthorneproducts.com, 765-768-6585; WF Young/Absorbine, www.absorbine.com, 800-628-9653; ABC, www.a-b-c-plus.com, 800-373-5971; Kaeco, www.kaeco.com, 800-228-1211.