Are there effective natural first aid remedies available for horses? Yes there are.
UMF manuka honey – ever gaining in popularity for its effectiveness on people – also makes a great natural first aid treatment for your horses.
Cuts, scratches, wounds, all things that horses tend to get from time to time. On humans there has been a growing amount of research, university, clinical and anecdotal, of how UMF® manuka honey is effective in treating infected wounds, making them sterile, and aiding healing. The same natural antibacterial properties it contains can also have a positive impact on animals.
What is UMF® Manuka Honey?
A unique honey from New Zealand that research shows has extra antibacterial properties. There are now specialist sterilised versions of it aimed at external wound use. Main attributes include providing antibacterial barrier protection, a moist wound healing environment, osmotic action resulting in odour control and reduction in wound fluid, and helping with growth of new tissue.
There is unfortunately a downside to using honey – it’s sticky – but if you can deal with that minor aspect, then this is a great natural remedy that actually has some proper research supporting it”.
It is important to remember not all manuka honey is the same, as a naturally occurring product, it does come with natural variation. The UMF® trademark is there for consumer protection for them to know they are getting honey that has been properly tested and measured for its antibacterial property.
After applying the honey to a wound on your horse, the best thing to do is place a dressing over top of it (use as non-absorbent a dressing as possible – you don’t want to draw too much honey away from the wound). This is mostly to stop the horse, or another horse, from licking the honey off. But don’t worry if they do still end up licking it – unlike some other products there are no chemicals or other things in it, it is still just pure honey.
You can make use of the jars of UMF® Manuka Honey that have a rating of 10+ or higher, although there are also now options with this honey in sterilised form in tubes, specifically aimed at external wound use, and potentially easier to apply. There are even ready made dressings with it too.
The use of this particular type of honey for healing wounds is supported by a growing amount of university and clinical trial research (focused on humans but applicable to horses), that does make it an effective first aid remedy for cuts and wounds. And there is growing anecdotal reports of people successfully using it on animals.