Guest Post: First Aid Back Pack……

First Aid Back Pack

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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  1. This is one of the best posts I have seen in a while. Some of the human medications are almost impossible to get with out a prescription. Just goes to show you there are other ways to treat injuries than just running off to the ER to have someone else do something you can do yourself. Excellent post!!

  2. Really enjoyable article reading, info from real-life experiences (not out of a book), and new tips. Knew about a
    couple of the tips but not all. My personal thanks.

  3. I wasn’t really sure how to start this so I’m going to jump right in. I am a medical professional, and I want to say that some of these treatments listed here can do more harm then good. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of good information here too.

    I love the Sulfa drugs but its is not a cure all I would suggest if you are planning on having antibiotics in your possession you should carry an anti-microbial hand book all Doctors have one. It costs a few bucks, it will give you a better idea of what that drug will and will not treat. If you have a choice between Penicillin and Amoxicillin I would pick Amoxicillin every time, its more effective then penicillin on almost every thing it’s used for. I know what everyone is thinking “but Raptor I thought penicillin was the strongest antibiotic out there” the truth is it used to be but after being used for so long and for so many different ailments, the human race has become resistant to it and penicillin is the whole reason we have MRSA. The pill form “fish” antibiotics are great it’s an easy and cheap way to get human grade antibiotics at a low price. I have already used them quite a few times. And contrary to popular belief antibiotics if stored properly will maintain 95% of there potency for up to 10 years.

    Ok now Phenylbute Boluses, this drug is no longer used in humans and for good reason. It works just as well as Naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Motrin/ Advil). The difference is that it has more harsh side affects in humans. It has been shown to lower you red blood cell count and I hope I don’t have to tell you that’s bad. Another thing is that since it is no longer made for humans the drug manufactures can now put cheaper and potentially harmful (to humans) fillers in the drug. You are better off just going to the store and paying a little more for your normal OTC NSAIDs.

    With regards to the the blood stop powder. This is not something I would recommend for any wound deeper then 1/2 inch unless you can get to a hospital within 3-5 hrs. This powder is going to create a tar like substance on your wound. Unless the wound was sterilized prior to application it will trap all kinds of bacteria in the wound. After the bleeding is stopped you are going to have to clear out the “tar” (which can be very painful like ripping off a massive scab) and then do a proper wound closure. If you don’t your chances of infection increase exponentially. You are better off just carrying a gauze roll and a cheap tourniquet.

    Alcohol is an awesome addition to your first aid pack. Just remember these two things and your all set. My father was wrong when he told me in hunting camp that a stiff drink would warm me up. In fact it does the opposite, it lowers your core body temperature so don’t drink booze if you are at risk of going hypothermic. Also if you have an open wound and you are at risk of loosing a lot of blood, drinking booze will 100% of the time “thin” your blood and prevent it from clotting correctly.

    I hope this didn’t come off like I was sharpshooting Bev’s article. If it did it wasn’t my intention. I just think this is some useful information that builds on Bev’s article.

    Until next time
    Stay Frosty

  4. Bev and Raptor-thank you both. We have farm animals and understand. The following health tips were passed down from my Grandmother and now I am a Grandma.They work.We have used them. To remove something that is irritating your eye place a flaxeed in your outer eye and by morning the matter will fall out along with the flaxseed.
    If you have a splinter or pricker in a hand or finger place a small piece of bacon or ham on it and cover with a bandaid-usually in several hours the object will come out. We also recommend Curets drawing sauve.Lehmans sells it. Bev I admire your courage living so far into the wilderness. Arlene

  5. This may be common sense but I figure I should put it out anyway.
    Amoxicillin is in the Penicillin family so just make sure if you are administering it to yourself or anyone else make sure they wont have an anaphylactic allergic reaction.
    If you do have an allergy to this medication you should go with an Antibiotic from the Cephalosporin family. Cephalexin (keflex) is going to be the drug you will be able to find on the “fish” antibiotic websites.
    Good Luck
    Stay Frosty

  6. I ran this article by my team “medics”. They really liked Bev’s info and agreed 100% on Raptor’s comments, especially on the blood stop compounds. Only as a last resort and if you are by yourself with no other way to close off a major bleeder. My medicos recommended Dynarex closure strips, gauze, and self grip first aid tape.
    We use PBs on our horses, sparingly, and never if they are gravid (or we think they might be).
    We keep amoxicillin, erythromycin, ciprofloxacin, and tetracycline on hand – both for the critters and the people.

  7. Excellent and very useful post.

    We already use a lot of vet meds for our critters and have stockpiled the fish antibiotics for us, along with print outs of what they are good for and what symptoms to look for so you know which drug is for which condition. I recommend that everyone do this and keep your little notebook with the meds. And, just to reiterate, use those antibiotics only when they are indicated. They won’t kill a virus, darn it, and if not properly used can cause intransigent, mutated and immune bugs to flourish. MRSA is no joke.

    Agree with Raptor about the Bute! Aleve knockoffs are cheap if you look around for them. Local, small pharmacies often have great deals in their weekly ads.

    Haven’t needed feminine pads for years, but going right out to get some for under that vet wrap.

  8. Geeknik-
    Good point about the Quikclot. I would suggest the Quikclot combat gauze verse the Quikclot ACS or ACS+. The ACS and the ACS+ use a thermogenic reaction to burn (cauterize) the wound closed, it works very well on the battle field but it is very painful bc of the high heat. It can also cause tissue damage which would have to be painfully removed from the body before the wound could be properly closed. Personally I do prefer the ACS but thats only bc i have used it many times and my skills are at a high enough level to deal with the wound after. The Combat gauze which uses a hemostatic agent to Stop bleeding is almost as reliable as the ACS but still very effective, its a lot easier to work on the wound also bc there wont be much if any tissue damage.

    Something to remember is that these clotting products are to be used on major arterial bleeds that means bright spurting blood (blood that literally shoots from the body like a squirt gun). Using it on a Wound that only has a slow venous bleed is like carrying 10 guns into a firefight, its more then you need. Also if you do use the ACS you should only use it on your patients extremities (arms and legs) using it on an abdominal or chest wound will only complicate the injury by damaging internal organs, and dont use it on the neck head or genitals either.that would suck.

    I only use blood clotting products as a last resort. Try and use your tourniquets first 2-4 inches above the wound not on a joint, and use a pressure dressing. A pressure dressing could be as simple as a tshirt a rock and a roll of duck tape or rope. if you can control the bleeding move to your clotting agents.

    For a normal venous bleed a cheap roll of gauze or your T shirt and some pressure and you have controlled the bleeding.

    Stay Frosty

  9. Thanks for the first aid advice, Raptor Medic! I bought several packages of the Quick Clot for our stock, but honestly, had not idea how or when to use it. I also purchased multiple Israeli Battle Dressings online. They appear to be thicker than the small bandage that every Infantryman carried on his web gear. When I was a Supply Sergeant in the early 1990s, I had boxes full of the Army battle dressings. I almost wish that I kept a few for my own use years down the road. The price of being honest, huh. I am going to look for the Quick Clot gauze and put the packages on top of the Quick Clot ACS. We do have a lot of gauze put away. I printed a recommended medical stock checklist for both short and long term crisis about a year ago. I then proceeded to Rite Aid & CVS, then bought everything on the list in triplicate: a complete set for my first aid bag (MidwayUSA range bag), another set broken down in drawers of a portable, plastic cabinet and the last set was put in a tote and cached. I had to spend at least 600 bucks, maybe 7 or even eight. But, I don’t care. To paraphrase one of my hero preppers, Echo-2 from the Emergency Essentials Forum, “What would you do for an aspirin if your child had a fever, or what would you give for some Ambesol if your child had a toothache”? This paper money we spend now will be worthless when the SHTF and we are WROL. Thanks again for your input.

  10. Thanks Bev and Raptor Medic! I appreciate both of you all’s information. Actually, one of the best posts. Peace and Blessings…

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