Current Progressive Cattle digital edition

Is there a vet box in the house? Effective cowboy treatment

Marci Whitehurst for Progressive Cattleman Published on 18 April 2017
kid and medicine

My kids are fighting the crud right now – with the sickness here, you'd think we walk around licking doorknobs, light switches and the bottom of our boots. (We don't.) I've made soups, cleaned, disinfected and opened windows. I think it helps.

I continue to look online and in books for remedies and immune support – it's my way to pull out a machine gun of cures.

My hubby, on the other hand, never looks beyond the vet box.

While the kids are coughing, sniffling and nauseous, I head to the medicine cabinet for Tylenol and Sudafed, and my cowboy calmly pulls out his vet supplies.

"How much LA 200 you suppose an 80-pound kid needs?" He peers at the label as if all of humanity could be cured from this particular bottle.

"Probably none."

"Figured you'd say that." He slips it back into the box. He pulls out the balling gun.

"Don't even think about it."

He smiles at my reply because there is no way he'd ever use a balling gun on our kids; it's just part of the game we play. You know, good cop, bad cop, with vet supplies.

The reality is a lot can be done with vet supplies, although we can never actually promote this kind of doctoring. The FDA, CDC and maybe even the AARP would be all over it.

However, I'm certain that we are not the only ones to use "what we have on hand" to cure what comes through our doors.

Got a cut? There's vet wrap. (Which is cheaper by the way and is the same as "people wrap.") This works well for most things. However, be aware that some cowboys may need stitches and will try to get away with vet wrap alone – unless there is super glue handy. Super glue does work for some things: paper cuts, a small slip of the knife. However, dangling appendages need more than vet wrap and super glue! Some folks may argue this, which may be a good time to wave a sorting stick or point to the cattle prod.

Although we never use a cattle prod on people, some vet supplies are quite helpful around the house. Betadine is a great antiseptic. Exam gloves come in handy for reasons ranging from sanitation to handling of the preg-checking clothes to balloons for the kids. Young kids can even use syringes for art projects – put a little paint inside and you're set!

Kids raised in agricultural settings have double blessings in my book – they get exposure to animals, the outdoors, a strong work ethic and more. They learn additional bonuses like when to use a 16-gauge needle and when to use an 18-gauge. However, should their father end up sick, they should also learn to say no if he asks them to "run to the barn" for him. It may be good practice for kids to repeat the following phrase: "Daddy does not get Banamine."

Of course, we all know that these dangerous supplies are kept up and out of the reach of our young kids, but an ounce of prevention goes a long way.

Ultimately our vet supply box is meant to be on hand for emergencies and usually emergencies prompt creative solutions. We've slipped a small T-shirt on our corgi to keep the dog from biting stitches; we've doused Betadine on knife slips; and we've used pliers to pull briars. So while I may run to the medicine cabinet, it might not hurt if my hubby runs for the vet box.  end mark

Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can follow her on her blog.

PHOTO: A reluctant patient skeptically scans his veterinarian-cowboy health remedies. Photo by Marci Whitehurst.