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close this bookEthnoveterinary Medicine in Asia - Ruminants (IIRR, 1994, 143 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCollaborating organizations
View the documentParticipants and workshop staff
View the documentHow to use this manual
View the documentLack of appetite
View the documentFever
View the documentCoughs and colds
View the documentDiarrhea
View the documentDehydration
View the documentBloat
View the documentConstipation
View the documentPoisoning
View the documentInternal parasites: Stomach and gut worms
View the documentLiverflukes
View the documentTick infestation
View the documentScabies (mange)
View the documentLice
View the documentFungus infections of the skin
View the documentInfectious diseases
View the documentFoot rot
View the documentEye diseases
View the documentWounds
View the documentBleeding
View the documentSnake bite
View the documentSprains
View the documentDifficulty in urinating
View the documentHousing
View the documentFeeding
View the documentMineral deficiency
View the documentBreeding
View the documentPregnancy and birthing
View the documentCare of mother animals after birthing
View the documentCare of newborn
View the documentUdder infection
View the documentDecreased milk flow



Frequent causes of sprains in ruminants are accidents and falls, especially during plowing and pulling heavy carts. Sprains often occur if the animal is tired, overworked or in Door condition. Young animals used for draft work are particularly affected especially at the beginning of the plowing season when feed is scarce. Animals with poorly formed legs are also more likely to get sprains. Sprains are also a problem in hilly areas where the animal must walk up and down steep slopes.




· The animal limps or has an uneven gait.
· It lags behind the rest of the flock or herd.
· It carries or drags the affected leg.
· It does not put its full weight on the leg.
· It has pain and pulls its leg away when you try to examine it.
· The affected joint may be swollen or inflamed.

Before treating the animal, make sure the problem is not:

· A fracture (see Simple surgical techniques in General information).
· Foot rot (see Foot rot).


· Herd the animals carefully during grazing to avoid accidents.
· Use light, nimble animals (not large, crossbred cattle or large buffaloes) in hilly areas.
· Do not use young, immature animals for work.
· Feed animals well and keep them in good condition.
· Do not overload animals.


Herbal treatments

Use one of the herbal treatments below.

· Crush enough fresh leaves of Cymbopogon citratus to cover the affected part. Warm over a fire and wrap around the affected part. Tie on with a cloth and leave for 3-5 days. This remedy provides heat by stimulating the blood circulation. (Indonesia. 1, 2)

· Finely cut a handful of fresh comfrey (Symphytum officinale) leaves. Place on a piece of cloth, fold the cloth and boil in water for 5 minutes. Wring out the water and apply hot to the affected area. Be careful not to burn the skin of the animal. (Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand. 1, 2, 3, 4)

· Cissus quadrangularis (whole plant). Hoya ovalifolia leaves. Pathos secundens (whole plant). Turmeric (whole plant). Ficus racemosa leaves.

· Take a handful of each plant and chop together with 100 g of salt. Put the mixture on a cloth and heat it over a pot of boiling water. Tie the hot mixture around the affected area with a cloth. Repeat this treatment once every 2 days for 3-5 days. Be careful not to burn the skin of the animal. (India, Sri Lanka. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

· Grind enough Brassica nigra seeds to cover the affected area, together with enough water to make a paste. Apply on the affected part twice a day for 3-5 days. (India, Sri Lanka. 1, 2, 3, 4)

· Take a sufficient quantity of any of the medicinal plants in the table below to cover the affected area. Pound and add enough hot water to make a warm poultice. Apply it around the affected joint or area 2-3 times a day for 3-5 days. Tie a cloth around the area to support the joint and keep the poultice on if necessary.

Sprain treatments

Scientific name

Common name

Parts used

Curcuma longa +


Dry/fresh turmeric rhizome, lemon juice
(India. 1, 2)

Citrus bergamia + salt



Eucalyptus globulus


Fresh leaves
(India. 1, 2)

Gaultheria fragrantissima

Indian wintergreen

Fresh leaves(India. 1, 2)

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis


Fresh leaves(Cambodia, India, 1, 2)

Mentha arvensis

Japanese mint

Fresh leaves

Mentha piperita


(India 1, 2)

Vitex negundo

Five-leaved chaste tree

Fresh leaves
(India. 1, 2)

Zingiber officinale


Fresh rhizome
(Indonesia. 1, 2)

Where to apply the poultice

Applying heat

Warming the affected area helps heal the sprain. Use one of the following treatments.

· Mix ¼ matchboxful of camphor powder with 100 ml of vegetable oil. Apply on the affected part once a day for 3-5 days. Caution: Do not apply on skin that is grazed or broken. (India. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

· Put a handful of salt in a cloth, tie the cloth with string to make a small bag, heat and apply on the affected part. Repeat the treatment twice a day for 3-5 days. (India. 1, 2, 3, 4)

· Heat a piece of dry clay and apply it on the affected part. Repeat the treatment twice a day for 3-5 days. (Maharastra, India. l, 2, 3, 4)

Preventing the sprained limb from moving

Keep the animal confined to prevent it from moving too much. Do not send it out for grazing or use it for plowing or other work.

If the sprain has not improved within 5 days or so, take the animal to a specialized healer (vet or village healer).

Use one of the following treatments to warm the affected area and to prevent the limb from moving too much.

· Heat any vegetable oil and pour it over newspaper. Wrap the newspaper as a cast around the affected area. Do this every day for 3-5 days. (Philippines. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

· Tie a wide (7-10 cm) cloth firmly around the affected part. Make sure the cloth is not too tight so it does not stop the blood flow. (Throughout South and Southeast Asia. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)