for Horses – Always Works!
The term poultice is derived from a Latin word for
porridge. In the equine world, poultices are applied for the relief
of localized pain, when caused by inflammation.
It is predominately used on the lower legs of horses
to benefit tendons, joints and ligaments. A hoof may be poulticed if
there has been a traumatic injury, bruising and if abscesses arise.
When utilizing a poultice for therapy, the goal is to reduce heat,
inflammation and to aid in the healing process. The least amount of
time an area is stressed by these elements the less damage there
will be and aid in longevity of your horse’s career.
The most prevalent type of poulticing is termed
“cold” therapy and is composed of clays and bentonites. This
application would minimize the inflammatory response to an early
injury or overworked legs, and act as a pain reliever. For
application, wet your hands and splash cold water on the injured
site. Spread ¼ to ½ inch of poultice onto anywhere you feel heat or
swelling. If wounds are present alternative care may be needed.
Cover the poulticed area with wet brown paper. Follow up by wrapping
with wet cotton or bandages. The longer the poultice remains cool
and wet the better it will draw heat and inflammation. Overnight
application or longer is an option, maybe for that trailer ride
home. Once you or your horse are ready to remove the wraps let the
poultice dry fully. As it dries it will continue to pull excess
fluid and heat. Brush the leg and follow with a cold water flush or
bath. Cold water is an excellent tool for reducing heat and
A “hot” or “sweat wrap” poultice will dilate the
superficial blood vessels to draw the blood from a congested and
inflamed area. This type of poulticing is helpful for arthritis and
old injuries that are cold to the touch.
Application would be to apply a poultice or a
liniment, cellophane wrap and then a cotton bandage. This type of
wrapping will keep the area heated; thus would not benefit a new
To do an application for a hoof poultice place ½
inch of poultice in a boot. Pour a little water in the boot then
insert the foot. Poultice the coronet band and pastern area, wrap
using cellophane, wet cotton and bandages. For best results keep
poultice on for 24 hours.
Poultices when properly applied are extremely
soothing to the legs, aid in healing and are very effective for
combating leg fatigue.
This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services,
home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which take
place monthly. Go to
www.kamanimalservices.com to sign up for the next webinar.
These webinars will conclude with a question and answer session, so
be ready with your questions!