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Home Remedy Still Effective Today
Despite being largely ignored or forgotten by veterinarians, castor oil is as effective today as it was years ago for sick calves, according to an Idaho beef producer.
"It has probably saved more acutely ill calves on our ranch than any other single medication," says Heather Smith Thomas, Salmon, Idaho. "Castor oil holds many ad-vantages over mineral oil, which is often recommended.
"For one, it's given in smaller doses than mineral oil. Four ounces is enough to relieve bloat or blockage in a severely ill calf, compared with a pint or quart of mineral oil.
"It also stimulates the gut to move again as well as lubricating it, while mineral oil only lubricates. This makes castor oil beter for relieving blockage from dirt, hairballs, or gut shut-down.
"It's also superior for treating calves with an acute gut infection a problem we sometimes experience in spring before calves go to summer pasture.
"We get castor oil from our local pharmacy, which special orders it from a supply house, for $30 to $40 a gallon. That's enough to last for several years unless we have a cold wet spring like this last one when disease was more prevalent."

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #2