First Aid Back Pack

This post was originally published over at It can be seen HERE.

by Bev


I lived in the mountains of Montana and Idaho for a number of years. One hundred and twenty miles to the nearest medical facility and you learned to take care of what you could on your own. Especially if you were logging, like we were.

Having horses and other animals on the homestead, the vet was much more accessible than a doctor and used much of what he treated the animals with on himself and his family. And he taught me a few things too along the way—delivered my daughter also.


Phenylbute Boluses 1 gram AKA Bute

These were actually recommended to me by my human doctor for severe back pain, as he knew we had horses and it was cheaper than buying the human version (according to the doctors’ the cheapest of any of these medicines would be sold in the bovine—cow–area, same thing for equine—horses–you pay ten times more for, if sold for humans you pay one hundred times more for it). This is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and pain killer. One tab per 500 lbs.–just bite it in half. No more than two tabs a day for a maximum of 10 days. “Phenylbutazone is for relief of inflammatory conditions associated with the musculoskeletal system in horses.” Great for back pain, inflamed tendons, etc. I consider it a must have pain killer always on hand. Available at most vets for about $20 or less. You can probably get it at any farm supply store as well.


Dr. Naylor Blu-Kote

This is an antiseptic-protective wound dressing that is a germicidal and fungicidal. Active ingredients are Sodium Propionate, Gentian Violet, Acriflavine with a base of water, urea, glycerine, and  isopropyl alcohol. This is a good all-around wound coat for you, the dogs, horses and other critters. Just hit the bloody wound with this and go about your business until you can get back to it if need be. Yes, it is blue and it does stain the skin for a couple of days—and clothes. It does keep the insects off, which is a bonus.


Blood Stop Powder

Ferrous Sulfate 84%, Ammonium Alum 5%, Chloroxylenol 1%, Tannic Acid 1%. Blood Stop is an absolute necessity to have around. This STOPS BLEEDING. Chainsaw cuts to nose bleeds, it does the trick. Plus, you can stand back and just poof it on to a distressed animal. Most common use is in dehorning, you know how those pesky head injuries bleed! For anything small, a common black tea bag, wetted and squeezed out will do. Again, this seems to keep off bugs.



This is a long storing, tablet form antibiotic that will knock out just about anything! 1 tablet per 100 lbs. twice a day for 7 to 10 days. This will take care of anything from a sinus infection to staph (MRSA) infections and more! This is far more effective, in my opinion, than penicillin. Almost exclusively from a vet. Find a bovine vet $17 for 60 tabs as opposed to $70 for 60 tabs from an equine vet—remember the ratio!

Antibiotics and pain killers can upset the stomach. Everyone is different—including the critters. Use cultured yogurt or beer to get the stomach bugs back working again if need be.


Vetericyn VF Wound and Infection Treatment

This is a nice, clean, water-based hydrogel spray. More expensive than Blue Kote, but cleaner. “One-step topical water-based HydroGel Spray that cleans, treats and protects wounds and infections and kills bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant MRSA… steroid-free, antibiotic-free, no-rinse solution is non-toxic and enhances healing… alcohol-free and iodine-free… fungi, viruses and spores… safe to use around mouth, nose and eyes.” Shake well, GOOD STUFF!

By the way, be sure to treat scrapes. I got run over by the horses one time, pretty scraped up but not an open wound. I didn’t treat it. I ended up with a very swollen leg, staph infection that was threatening to go system wide. Three doctors wanted to remove the leg that day. Got a fourth opinion, he lanced it, switched antibiotics and gave me 24 hours. I still have my leg; just have a hoof print in it!



Absolute essential available at any farm supply store for $1-$2 a roll. Keep lots of it on hand! Replaces, and in my opinion is better than, the ace bandage. Elastic, self-sticking, can reuse a couple of times if careful. Each roll is about seven to ten feet (sorry, I never measured, plus it is elastic). I consider it an absolute essential for the first aid back pack. Much cheaper than band aids for the kids. You can cut it to size if desired. There are probably many uses for it other than just wound care. It holds to joints that a bandage or ace bandage is useless on. Lots of colors to choose from! Will go over hair without pulling—big advantage! Almost impossible to wrap too tight and cut off circulation. Pretty much a foolproof bandage that can go on almost any part of the body and stay in place.

I’ve used vet wrap and paint sticks to splint a goat’s leg. Popsicle sticks and vet wrap for poultry. Had a goat break it’s leg once, very bad, I used a combination of paint sticks, vet wrap, and then PVC over that with duct tape on the end so the hoof couldn’t touch the ground with vet wrap to hold it in place but not cut off circulation.



Any farm supply will have it. We always kept some in the fridge on the farm. Under the skin, not in the muscle. Hurts like hell. I prefer TSP—tastes bad but doesn’t hurt.


Needles and Syringes

Farm supply store. Syringes are amazingly useful. Great to feed small baby animals. Mix up your oral concoction and put it in a tube and get it down the animal. Great in the garden for planting small seeds. Syringes are a necessity for any rural first aid pack.


Corn Syrup

I have saved the lives of more animals than you can believe with corn syrup—any brand will do. Instant energy! The animal (or child) if half-dead and doesn’t have the energy to swallow, drink, or eat, put this (watered down or not) in the appropriate sized syringe (appropriate to the creature you are treating) and get it down them. Within 3 to 5 minutes they will perk up enough to swallow, drink, etc. That may be all you need to turn the situation around! This works on mammals and poultry. Cheap, effective DIY alternative to glucose or an IV drip!



This is available at any fish supply store as the doctor and nurse on the doomandbloom website will share with you. A common prescription for kids.


Triple Antibiotic ointment

This is actually cheaper and better than Neosporin.


Feminine Pads

Awesome alternatives, often no-stick, for gauze and bandages. Great for strep throat covered by vet wrap (you don’t want to be seen wearing a feminine pad even if you are female!). Gauze disintegrates even in the package over time. Feminine pads do not. They come in different sizes and thicknesses and hold a lot of blood! Again, not socially acceptable, but extremely effective. And no one will know under vet wrap!


Duct Tape

Yes, another use of for duct tape! No suchers or don’t want to sew that ripped skin back together? Duct tape it. Yes, it hurts like hell when you pull it off, but if you leave it on long enough (two weeks plus) the skin will be pulled together and heal without stitches.

Also good for holding together splints, if needed. Firmer than vet wrap for this application. Or, worse case scenario, you have to create a travois and get the person out of the woods—handier and quicker than rope!


Whiskey, brandy, vodka, etc.

The latest craze in the horse world that actually works is a pint of brandy for colic. Get it in a plastic container (you have to pour it into the horse’s mouth). No need to walk the animal.

Keep it in your first aid kit. Also good on humans for a bad case of constipation (nothing to laugh at folks, I ended up in the hospital for it before I knew of this cure! If SHTF happens, your diet will change and that will cause constipation!). Colic is essentially constipation or stomach blockage in horses. Spirit of peppermint and spearmint are good for colic (babies too). Always have mineral oil or olive oil on hand for sand colic—again, plastic containers. But you have to walk the equine after giving them a dose, sometimes for 8 hours.

Alcohol dehydrates, but it is a good pain killer if you have a bad wound.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of alternatives for your first aid back pack. These are just some of the alternatives I have used for years and know they will work. Plus, if you stock your back pack with both human and animal medicines you only have to grab and go. And when you need it, it is always a grab and go situation!


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