Category Archives: Medical

USING ESSENTIAL OILS AGAINST MOSQUITOES (and flies… gnats, etc.)!






First, before we even start… I want to tell you that I’ve been using the very affordable Equi-Spa products for years now – they are all natural, use essential oils and work wonders!

For example, the Peppermint Summer Protection Spray has catnip, lavender, neem and soy – exactly what the below article recommends!

I use The Balm on almost any cut or skin wound.  It healed up Bodhi’s massive wound with hardly a scar – and kept the flies away.  Worth it’s weight in gold.  I use it on everything.

I also use the Udder/Sheath cleaner (you don’t need to rinse!), Fairy Tails, Not So Sweet Itch Gel and the Lavender Cleanser (I even spray this in Norma’s grazing muzzle and she loves it!).

Anyway, I have no affiliation with Equi-Spa, I just love their products!  If are reading this blogpost today about essential oils against flies and mosquitoes, I think you will, too!

Original article linked here.

How To Use Essential Oils To Keep Mosquitoes Away

How To Use Essential Oils To Keep Mosquitoes Away

Mosquitoes are a perennial problem, but it becomes especially acute during the warm summer months. What an unfortunate coincidence that this happens just when everything else is perfect for outdoor life. The buzz and bite of mosquitoes can spoil an outdoor party and ruin a family gathering out in the garden or patio. Of late, they have become more than a nuisance, what with the diseases–some of them quite debilitating and deadly–spread by these pesky insects.

Vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as malaria and dengue have always been a scourge of the tropics, but they are frequently appearing in many parts of the United States. A more serious problem is the West Nile virus encephalitis that has attained a native status in the country with epidemics reported with increasing regularity. The Zika virus that has spread to many South and Central American countries, including Mexico, is the latest threat. Because of this, need to be vigilant than ever to avoid bitten by them.

Since insecticidal sprays and other mosquito eradication measures have been unsuccessful in getting rid of the mosquito menace, our best bet is to keep them away with mosquito repellents. Mosquitoes are thought to be attracted to us by certain substances in our sweat as well as the carbon dioxide released in our breath and through the skin. The olfactory sensors of the insect pick up these cues from far away and swarm to us for a free meal. The female mosquitoes need a dose of blood to be able to reproduce, so every time they get a drink of blood, it helps increase their population. That’s one more reason to avoid getting bitten.

The Dangers of DEET

Blocking the scent sensors of mosquitoes is one way to keep them away from us. Commercial products containing DEET do this more or less effectively. Although it may cause allergic reactions in some people, it is generally considered safe for use even on children. However, it is no secret that this chemical compound is toxic to us even when immediate reactions do not occur. It gets easily absorbed into the body, getting accumulated in tissues, doing long-term damage. A safer alternative would be essential oils that can have a similar effect on the smell sensors of mosquitoes.

Many aromatic essential oils have insect–repelling property, particularly those containing volatile substances like linalool, thujone, geraniol, citronellal, citronellol, limonene, pinene and eucalyptol. They have been found to be effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay for a short period of 2-4 hours because of their high volatility. Repeat applications may be necessary, but essential oils, especially the ones derived from culinary herbs, may be safer than other chemical deterrents. Mixing them with non-volatile agents like soybean oil or witch hazel extract can help extend their action.

8 Essential Oils with Mosquito Repellent Properties:

1. Lemon eucalyptus oil

This essential oil extracted from the leaves and bark of the lemon eucalyptus tree Corymbia citriodora consists of nearly 80% citronellal in addition to appreciable amounts of eucalyptol, linalool and limonene. Hanging branches of eucalyptus at doors and windows and burning the leaves and wood in the evenings were traditional ways to repel mosquitoes in many parts of the world. The commercial mosquito repellent p-menthane-3,8-diol, commonly known as (PMD), considered a safer alternative to DEET, is based on lemon eucalyptus oil.

2. Thyme essential oil

Extracted from the culinary herb Thymus vulgaris, it contains, in addition to Thymol, insect repellant agents Thujone, Pinene, and Linalool.

3. Geranium essential oil

The oil extracted from the aromatic leaves and stems of Pelargonium odoratissimum contains Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol and Alpha-pinene, apart from Geraniol which has proven mosquito repellent action.

4. Lavender essential oil

Obtained from lavender blooms, this sweet-smelling essential oil gives instant relief from mosquito bites on spot application, but it is also effective in warding off these insects. Since it is one of the most popular and safest of essential oils, the mosquito repellant property of this soothing oil can be put to good use at bedtime, especially for kids, this sweet-smelling essential oil gives instant relief from mosquito bites on spot application, but it is also effective in warding off these insects. Since it is one of the most popular and safest of essential oils, the mosquito repellant property of this soothing oil can be put to good use at bedtime, especially for kids.

5. Catnip essential oil

Of the different essential oils derived from aromatic mint family plants, catnip essential oil derived from Nepeta cataria has been found to be most effective against mosquitoes. Catnip has been historically used for the purpose by many tribal communities who just rubbed the leaves on the skin before hunting trips.

6. Citronella oil

It is extracted from several types of lemongrass Cymbopogon spp., and is commonly used in insect repellant candles and ointments. It is found to be particularly effective against Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever as well as Dengue and Zika viruses. Growing citronella around your garden is also a good way to repel mosquitoes. Here are 11 herbs and plants that help to keep mosquitoes away.

7. Cedar wood essential oil

Distilled from the wood of the cedar tree, this oil is used as an insect repellent. It has been found to be very effective against malarial mosquitoes.

8. Basil essential oil

The culinary herb basil is often cultivated close to homes to repel bloodsucking insects, including mosquitoes. The oil extracted from the leaves can be used in mosquito repellent ointments and sprays.

Note: All of these essential oils are available to purchase from Plant Therapy on Amazon here

Combine Essential Oils to Enhance Their Effect

It has been found that a combination of essential oils works better at repelling mosquitoes than individual oils. That could be because the different volatile agents work on the scent receptors of mosquitoes in different ways. Also, different types of mosquitoes may be sensitive to specific substances.

For instance, a combination of geranium oil and vanilla extract has been found to offer up to 7 hours of protection against the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit dengue. On the other hand, mint-family essential oils and thyme oil are better against Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes that spread malaria and filarial disease.

Mixing a non-volatile oil with the essential oil help prolong their insect-repellent effect. Soybean oil and coconut oil seem to have a certain amount of insect-repellant property of their own, so either one of them can be used as the carrier oils for the essential oil blend.

Candles – Mosquito repellant candles containing citronella or geraniol are widely used for repelling mosquitoes in outdoor settings.

Diffuser – Diffusers help distribute the volatile oils in the air at a steady rate. Use a combination of mosquito repellent essential oils in the diffuser for use in the patio or indoors. Here are ten reasons every home needs an essential oil diffuser, and here we review five of the most popular to help you work out which is best for you.

Mosquito repellant sprays – They come handy when you need protection from mosquitoes outdoors. You can mix a number of mosquito repellent essential oils in plain water, or in vodka, witch hazel water or lavender water for extra effect.

How To Make An Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent Spray:

Mix ¼ cup boiling water with ¼ cup vodka and let it cool. Pour it into a glass spritzing bottle and add 5 drops each of lemon eucalyptus oil, cedarwood oil, and catnip oil. Shake well before using the spray.

Skin ointments – Mosquito repellant skin ointments offer direct protection where it is most needed. It can keep you safe from mosquito bites as you step out of the house. You should make sure that you are not allergic to any constituent of the ointment before applying them.

How To Make A Mosquito Repellent Ointment:

Melt ¼ cup of beeswax pellets in a double boiler and add ¼ cup of coconut oil. Take off the heat and allow to cool until a film forms on top. Whip in 5 drops each of lavender, thyme, basil, and citronella oils until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Spread a thin coating on exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites.

Where To Buy Essential Oils

All of the essential oils mentioned in this article are available to purchase on Amazon. The most trusted suppliers of essential oils include Plant Therapy and Edens Garden. Visit their respective marketplaces here and here and add all the oils you need to your basket.

All Set For Mosquito Season

With these effective, all-natural repellent recipes you will be all set for an enjoyable summer season in your backyard without the fear of being interrupted by pesky mosquitoes. Here are a few more articles that will help you fight back this summer:


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Have you ever heard of ‘UROPERITONUEM IN FOALS’? Me neither but it HAPPENED TWICE already this foaling season… Good information to know!






I found this article from Idaho Equine Hospital very interesting.  (You might want to follow them on FB.  They are great at posting very interesting medical news on FB – with photos!)

Foaling usually goes fine… but it can be very stressful.  Knowledge is power.  I had never heard of this condition, so I thought I would pass it on to you all.  We love foals – and the best way to keep them healthy is to understand the symptoms!

Click to go to FB page

2 Cases of Uroperitonuem in Foals. By Robin Knight DVM, DACVIM

We recently had 2 foals that we did surgery on to correct a ruptured urachus. The fact that we had 2 cases very close together made us think that it might be a good topic to discuss and raise awareness of.

Let’s begin with a little anatomy-the urachus is basically a tube that connects the foal’s bladder to the allantois (fluid sac that surrounds the unborn foal). It runs through the umbilical cord and allows the foal to expel urine. After birth this tube normally closes, but in some cases this tube can develop tears and begin to leak urine. Depending on where the tear occurs, urine can leak into the abdomen, into the subcutaneous tissues (under the skin), or both. If it leaks into the subcutaneous tissue, you will notice a rapidly developing and progressive swelling around the umbilical remnant (navel). It is important to get these foals evaluated immediately because the urine is very irritating to the tissue and if not addressed quickly, it can cause a large portion of tissue to slough off of their belly. Both of our foals developed uroperitoneum (urine within the abdominal cavity), so they did not have external swelling around their navel, but both had abdominal distention. Each of the two cases were a little different and bring up some important points about the underlying problems and possible etiologies (causes) of this condition. It is worth noting, that the clinical presentation, treatment, and underlying causes of a ruptured bladder in foals are nearly identical to a ruptured urachus, in fact, the two conditions can occur in the same foal as you will see in the second case. The only thing that is different is what is required at surgery to fix the problem so all of the information that we present here also applies to cases of ruptured bladder.

Foal from case #1 — at Idaho Equine Hospital.

Our first case was a foal who came to us shortly after birth because of a meconium impaction. We were able to relieve the impaction with enemas, but unfortunately a few days later the foal became lame and we discovered that he had an infection in one of his growth plates. This infection likely came from bacteria that had been in his bloodstream-a condition called sepsis that we see somewhat commonly in foals. We treated the infection aggressively with antibiotics and he was making good progress until he was about 7 days old. He had seemed bright and was nursing in the morning, but by that afternoon he was more lethargic and we noticed that his belly looked just a little bit more bloated than it had been. We used ultrasound to diagnose that he had increased free fluid in his abdomen and collected a sample of this fluid for analysis. The hallmark of this disease is that the abdominal fluid will have a higher creatinine than the blood (at least 2X). This occurs because creatinine is a waste product that is cleared by the kidneys and excreted in the urine, so when urine is being leaked directly into the abdomen, the creatinine in that fluid will be quite high. We took the foal to surgery that evening and found that he had urine leaking from the Urachus. Dr Kevin Wahl removed the urachus and closed the resulting hole where it had connected to the bladder.

The yellow tube visible next to the filly’ tail (case #2) is a urinary catheter that we left in for a few days after surgery to keep her bladder drained so the areas where Dr Wahl sutured her bladder had a chance to heal.

The second foal had fluid in her abdomen when she presented to us. She had been born approximately 2 weeks premature but had been doing well until she was about 6 days old. Her owners noticed that she was not nursing and that her abdomen was distended so they brought her into the clinic. Just like the other foal we found free fluid in her abdomen and upon sampling, we found that it had a high creatinine. At surgery we found that she had an abscessed area in her urachus that was leaking urine, as well as a small tear in the dorsal (top) aspect of her bladder. Dr Kevin Wahl performed the surgery, he was able to close the tear in the bladder as well as removing the urachus.

This picture is the underside of the colt’s belly. The area that looks like it has a scalloped edge is where the sutures are from the abdominal incision we made at surgery.

One of the biggest issues with ruptured urachus (and bladder) is how rapidly these foals deteriorate. One reason is because urine is typically high in potassium. When the urine spills into the abdomen, the potassium is absorbed through the lining of the abdomen and enters the bloodstream. High potassium can cause fatal abnormalities in the electrical activity in the heart (arrhythmia). We checked the electrolytes in both of these foals prior to taking them to surgery. We also drained some of the urine off of their abdomen and provided them with IV fluids to help correct their electrolyte abnormalities. This is a very important step with any of these cases because death from heart arrhythmias under anesthesia is a real concern with these foals.

Filly recovering

Historically, ruptured bladders were thought to be due to trauma to the bladder that occurred during the foaling process, and it probably is one of the causes of them. Likewise, with a ruptured urachus, trauma can be a cause-such as excessive strain on the umbilical cord (that is why we recommend letting it break on its own and not trying to pull or tear it). However, some more recent studies show that there are probably other contributors to these issues. A study published in 2005 looked at several cases of both ruptured bladder and ruptured urachus, they found that when they looked at the areas of tissue that had ruptured under a microscope, 46% of these areas had evidence of infection, and they were able to culture bacteria out of 9/15 of the samples. These findings suggest that sepsis (bacteria in the bloodstream of the foal) is likely a significant cause in many of the cases that we see. This makes a lot of sense from what we see clinically, as many of our cases are foals that are already hospitalized and being treated for sepsis and other issues.

Both of these foals had known risk factors for rupture of the urinary tract. Prematurity as well as meconium impactions (presumably because of increased straining by the foal) have both been implicated in increasing the risk of rupture. Other risk factors that have been discussed include dystocia (difficulty birthing) and delivery by cesarean section. Some early papers found an increased incidence in colts vs fillies, but this has not been a consistent finding in other papers.

Both foals survived!

Both of these foals displayed abdominal distention which is a very important sign of the disease. Other clinical signs can include not nursing, lethargy, colic signs, fever, and even neurological signs. Some foals will present with straining to urinate or decreased urination, but it is very important to note that foals with a ruptured bladder or urachus MAY still be able to urinate some. So seeing your foal pass urine does not rule out a rupture!!

Both of these foals showed abdominal distention around 1 week of age, and this is a very typical age for these foals to present, although we have seen it in both older and younger foals. We rarely see it over 1 month of age.

We are delighted to report that both of these foals are doing well and have been discharged from the hospital. We would like to thank Dave Merritt and Jeff Metcalf for allowing us to share these cases and to care for their wonderful foals.

Meconium impaction, infected growth plate, urachal rupture, TTTTHPBT! I am tougher than ALL of that!! — at Idaho Equine Hospital.


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