By Adrianne Lake
Sugardine is an economical and easy to make first-aid treatment that has many uses in the stable.
Sugardine (or sugardyne) is an easy to make, economical and effective remedy made from granulated household sugar and 10% povidone iodine, or betadine. Commercial ready-made sugardine mixtures are also available. The idea of using sugar to treat wounds is not a new idea. In the past, honey has been used on wounds and sugardine itself has been used to treat human bedsores and burns. Many farriers and veterinarians have used sugardine in their practices with great success.
Sugardine is commonly used on horses to treat thrush, abscesses, laminitis, proud flesh and wounds. It draws out infection, improves drainage and toughens hooves while promoting healthy tissue growth. Unlike some other common remedies, sugardine doesn’t dry or damage existing healthy tissue.
I have heard some people say that sugar feeds bacteria or fungal growth and will therefore aggravate many conditions. It has been proven in many case studies that white sugar in large amounts is antibacterial. Add betadine, and you can’t go wrong. The sugars also help restore a proper pH balance in the tissue. Sugardine is mentioned as a reliable and effective remedy in a number of veterinary manuals. Cherry Hill highly recommends sugardine to treat thrush in her Horsekeeping website. I have used homemade sugardine to treat thrush and soft soles in my gelding with remarkable success. You just can’t argue with a remedy that has been around so long. My farrier swears by the stuff.
Making and Using Sugardine
To make sugardine, simply mix one part 10% povidone iodine (or betadine, but this is usually more expensive!) to two parts white sugar. Add more or less sugar to reach desired consistency. It should be like thick honey when all mixed together. Put the sugardine in a container with a lid. The mixture will need stirring now and then but it will never go bad. Sugardine gets very stiff in the cold and sometimes the sugar settles a little. Povidone iodine ointment can be used in the mix as well. Herbs can be added to make sugardine an effective poultice.
If treating thrush or another hoof ailment, it sometime helps to bandage the sugardine in and then tape it all up. Leave this on for a day or two. Make sure to clean the hooves thoroughly and to pack the sugardine deep into the clefts. Sugardine can also be used as an antibiotic ointment on wounds, scrapes, and burns.