Help! What's going on with his heel?

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Help! What's going on with his heel?

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  • Horse has white on his heel
  • Dew poisoning in horses

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    05-05-2012, 02:01 AM
Help! What's going on with his heel?

Hi there,
A few days ago, I noticed that my horse's heel had a slit in it. I thought, that's weird, but didn't give it any more thought. Stupid me.

Today, I noticed that the back of his frog was very soft and even had some holes in it's rotting away. The slit was deeper so I cleaned it out with water. It's obviously infected because it had some very stinky puss in it. I covered the area with an antibiotic cream.

I'm going to have a better look tomorrow but for now, please see the pics. Also, excuse the muddy mess. It wasn't dry enough to pick out with my scraper.

What's going on? Does it require vet intervention? It doesn't seem to be causing him any pain.

I'm worried!

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    05-05-2012, 04:15 AM
Well can't see much else with the foot.. is there a way to thoroughly clean the entire hoof so we can see if there's anything else going on ?
    05-05-2012, 09:00 AM
Would guess it's thrush, perhaps combined with a small gash, but can't tell much from those pics, sorry.
    05-05-2012, 09:36 AM
Well one thing you can do (other than re-take pics with cleaner feet) is feel for any heat on the foot. Also keeping it dry is your best option. Some people duct tape a diaper on or keep them on dry footing for a few hours of the day.
    05-05-2012, 09:58 AM
Ok, thanks. I will clean them better and take more pics. I'll also feel for heat. Duct tape...good idea but I won't do it until I post more pics and hear back from you. Thanks!
    05-05-2012, 12:24 PM
Common names include scratches, mud fever, dew poisoning or greasy heel. It's all equine pastern dermatitis verrucosa. Specific etiology is unknown but the pathology is almost always associated with wet environments. Occurrence rates seem to increase in the spring. Light colored horses are more susceptible as are heavy horses with feathers.

Successful treatment improves with dry conditions. Shave the hair in the infected area and treat topically with a betadine (or any astringent) wash once a day.

If the problem worsens (ulceration, scabs, etc), it may be necessary to include a topical antibiotic/antimicrobial to the effected area. If inflammation is present, a dexamethasone steriodal may prove helpful.

Treatment effectiveness is dramatically reduced if the horse is left in a wet, muddy environment.

    05-05-2012, 09:54 PM
I had great success treating scratches with Microtek shampoo. Just a few treatments did the trick.
    05-06-2012, 12:58 AM
Hi everyone,
I got some more pictures but I forgot them at home. Someone at the barn told me that it's thrush which is not that I'm sure you all know. Unfortunately, his three other feet look like they have a touch of it.

I cleaned all of his hooves with saline solution and then sprayed them with hydrogen peroxide. I know there is some controversy about whether or not hydrogen peroxide damages tissue so I might switch to something else. What does everyone think about using iodine? Doe sit kill fungus as well as bacteria? I don't have a tack shop near me so I want to use something that's easy to get.


P.S. I found this website. It shows a hoof with a similar "slit".

I forgot to mention that there was no puss today!
    05-06-2012, 01:15 AM
OMG...thanks goodness it's not this bad: Frog Infection
    05-06-2012, 01:39 AM
Originally Posted by lauraetco    
I cleaned all of his hooves with saline solution and then sprayed them with hydrogen peroxide. I know there is some controversy about whether or not hydrogen peroxide damages tissue so I might switch to something else. What does everyone think about using iodine? Doe sit kill fungus as well as bacteria?
Yeah, I wouldn't tend to use hydrogen peroxide or other heavy chemicals on live tissue *unless necessary*(sometimes if the infection is severe I think it can be best to hit it with the 'heavy guns' before reverting to something like apple cider vinegar for ongoing management/prevention). Thrush/white line disease/seedy toe(same sort of thing infecting different areas) can be bacterial or fungal. If it's mud fever - affecting only skin, not horn - this is generally only fungal, but I think it can be bacterial occasionally too. Iodine, t-tree oil, eucalyptus oil and strong saline soaks are all great, wide spectrum antiseptic treatments. Iodine is *apparently(get different opinions from different doctors!) also necrotic, so I wouldn't use that on live tissue unless necessary either. It also doesn't stay active on dirty feet - only works initially. I find t-tree & eucalyptus are more effective & I think it's that being oils, they hang in there longer & seem to keep on keeping on.

Diet & nutrition, along with management, are important factors to consider if your horse is prone to these type infections. Horses with well balanced nutrition are less susceptible.

PS if that website you linked to shocked you so much, then great - you haven't seen very bad thrush!

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