Sheath Cleaning Naturally: Using Essential Oils For Horses

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Sheath cleaning is one of those horse maintenance projects that we tend to put on the back burner for as long as we can. However, it is a very important part of horse care and essential to good horse hygiene. You can make the procedure simple, safe and natural by incorporating essential oils into the process. Using essential oils for horses in your day-to-day care and maintenance saves both time and money. Something we are all concerned about these days! By keeping just a few of the most versatile of the essential oils on hand you can replace the vast majority of those "specialty" products that clutter up your home and barn. When cleaning my geldings' sheaths, I will typically use some kind of a natural cleanser like a mild tea tree oil based cleaner or something like Thieves Household Cleaner. But if you don't have that, you can use just the essential oils. The standard recommendation for sheath cleaning is typically 2 to 3 times per year, but some horses accumulate debris more often than others and I would recommend you at least check them every 2 to 3 months and gauge your cleaning schedule based on the individual horse. For some reason it seems like the lighter colored horses create more smegma and need to be cleaned much more often than their darker counterparts. If you suspect you horse some underlying issues such as an infection, make sure to consult your veterinarian before proceeding with any treatments. By using essential oils in our sheath cleaning process, it is gentle enough to be done daily and can be complimentary to any treatments proscribed by your veterinarian. What you will need: Thieves essential oil or Thieves Household Cleaner Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil Lavender essential oil If you are using Thieves essential oil rather than the household cleanser, you'll also need either KY jelly or a mild natural cleanser to add the Thieves oil to Pure grade vegetable oil (V6) Bucket with about a 1/2 gallon of warm water Latex gloves Always, ALWAYS, oleo essencial de laranja doce - make sure you have done the prior and proper preparation with your horse for sheath handling! If your horse is not used to this process, it's a really good way for you to get kicked and/or seriously injured! If your horse is bothered by it, do a lot of approach and retreat to the area for several days prior until you can work your hand into the sheath and touch all around the groin area without your horse reacting to it. For cleaning the inside of the horse's sheath, if you use the Thieves essential oil rather than the Thieves Household Cleaner, add the Thieves oil to the KY jelly or any mild natural cleanser you have handy. If you use the Thieves cleanser, add 1/2 cap or less to the 1/2 gallon of warm water. Make sure that you remove any beans you find that may be blocking the urethra and smegma that has built up on the inside of the sheath. If you are unsure how to check for beans, it is a simple process and you will know right away if your horse has them or not. Apply a liberal amount of lubricant/cleaner to the tip of your gloved pinky finger and run your finger around the outside of the urethra. If your horse has beans, you will feel some hard nodules around the urethra. Use your fingertip to dislodge them and pull them out. You may need to reapply lubricant several times to loosen them. Beans can cause your horse serious urinary problems if not removed on a regular basis. If you have trouble doing this, your veterinarian can provide this service for you. Once you're done with that, rinse with water thoroughly to make sure you get all the cleanser removed. Next you can add 5-10 drops of both Melaleuca (alternifolia) and lavender essential oils with just enough pure grade vegetable oil (V6) to clean the outside of the horse's penis. You won't need very much, a little goes a long way. If your horse has an underlying fungal or bacterial infection, you may need to repeat this process once or twice daily until you notice the condition improving then you can reduce the frequency to about once every month or two thereafter. Both the Thieves and Melaleuca oils are extremely antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, etc. and are the best natural solutions to treating infection. The Melaleuca also promotes healing and cell regeneration, and is very good for the skin. Lavender is a strong anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and pain reliever with strong properties to promote healing and has long been used as a cleanser. It is also one of the gentlest of the essential oils, so is perfect for cleaning and treating sensitive areas of the body. The really nice thing about essential oils is that they can be used to compliment any treatments your veterinarian might proscribe. I always try and keep the 4 major oils on hand because they have so many uses - Thieves, Peppermint, Lavender and Melaleuca. It is also very important to always make sure that you are using therapeutic grade oils to ensure the quality and consistency of the product you use on your family and animals.
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