Hoof abscess - finally at a loss - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-19-2012, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Hoof abscess - finally at a loss

I am having hoof issues with my draft mare Smoke and I am greatly frustrated by the whole thing. Were going on 5 weeks now, I have had nothing but issue with this and I am starting to find I am at a loss as to get it to heal and go away. A piece of the sole is indented in, but farrier didn't want to cut it away as it protects what is underneath, he felt if we kept treating and keeping it wrapped it will eventually heal.

While the farrier was here, he said it was a pretty substantial abscess, to keep it packed and wrapped. I got Banixx as it isn't costic to the tissue, helps heal the wound or hoof problem your having. I even called them and talked at length about what was going on. Each evening when I clean it and put the cotton ball back in the indention (hole) that is there due to the abscess, it is soaked with the Banixx.

About a week or so ago, while trying to clean it out Smoke kicked her leg out to get me to let go, the hoof pick end went right up into that and it bled a decent amount, roughly about 15 or so cc of blood. Packed it, put the cotton batting, vet wrap, and duct tape boot. All was well, it stopped bleeding and she was standing on it fine.

Last night, cut away the duct tape boot, looked at the cotton that I pack in the hole and it is DRAINING again!!! :roll: At this point I want to cry! I tried to flush it with the Banixx but when I did she started trying to jerk her hoof away from my husband, knocked the syringe out of my hand and then she started dripping blood...that is what concerns me out of everything. So I put a clean dry cotton ball, a 4x4, vet wrap and duct tape boot. Again, she is walking normal. This morning she is slightly off, if you watch Smoke walk you can pick up a slight gimp to her hind step.

She is on antibiotics, Unaprim (sp?), I am keeping the hoof clean, I wrap it every night, and I am at a loss of what else to do. I don't want to cut into her hoof, I know some are over zealous with a hoof knife...but the constant arguing with her to give me the hoof and wrap and pack is getting old to her AND to my back.

Anyone ever dealt with a bad abscess like this before? What did you do? I asked about sugardine and soaking, but with how we deal with thrush if the hoof stays too moist, I am hesitant to start that back up again..the soaking I mean.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-19-2012, 06:36 PM
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Even though you didn't realize it, the hoof pick was helping the abscess to drain when it went thru the hoof.

My friend's horse had bad abscesses, one on top of the other, at the end of his life; all brought on by cushings and insulin resistance.

She got the vet out each and every time to cut/drain/wrap them and he would leave her with follow-up instructions.

Banixx is not going to help a thing with an abscess - especially a deep one.

I would call the vet. Let the vet do the cutting/packing/bandaging and tell you what your end of the follow-up treatment should be.

It is even possible by now the vet might see the need for a tetanus shot.

Hope this helps
loosie, nuisance and rookie like this.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-19-2012, 06:55 PM
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I agree, the best advice is to call the vet out.

In the meantime I advise making a betadine scrub/epsom salts paste. Slather a 4" gauze pad with it good. Slap it on the sole centering to the hole. VEtwrap it, then duct tape boot it.. Leave that on for a day or 2.. it will draw out the abscess. Don't try to dig or poke or rinse out the hole, just keep it clean and bandage back up. Once it drains out well this will also help the hole to heal up without letting dirt in.. Be aware that this may surface again and again if it doesn't totally drain out. I have been told antibiotics don't work as well on abscesses of the hoof well as they may slow the process. Don't freak out, just keep it covered and polticed.. been there done that. :)

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-19-2012, 07:29 PM
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I also vote vet. The chronic abscess may be caused by something other then slow healing. That said the strangest cure I have heard for a abscess was used on a horse with chronic abscess that antibiotics were not helping. They changed the antibiotics and then started wrapping the area with fresh baked wheat bread and raw milk. I don't know if it was the antibiotics or the bread and milk but the mare was better. In this case, before you hit the kitchen call the professionals in.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-19-2012, 08:02 PM
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Yeah, if the farrier, you or something else hits blood, definitely time for a good equine vet.

Some hoof pix & more information would be helpful to provide you with any specific opinions/suggestions.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-20-2012, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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I had the vet out last Thursday to check her over and we spoke about the abscess and what was going on. For the time, my vet advised to keep it clean, keep it wrapped and an eye on it. Walkinthewalk your comment is what our vet said, that I may of helped the abscess by the accidental puncture and bleeding, that she felt it would help flush anything out and then explained that the hoof was very vascular and when something like that happens, it bleeds.

I asked for Smoke to be put on antibiotics as it had, at that time, already been 4 weeks and no real improvement other than she was walking normally still, with no real signs of pain. I have also been putting silicae in her grain as that too in the past has helped a quicker healing process.

As for hoof photo's...rather not. Her hoof toe is rather long, they are a bit ragged and she has been a downright bear to even treat as she is getting really tired of all the touching, wrapping and bother to that back hoof so the farrier is leaving her hind hooves alone, other than a light rasp, which seems to make her even more annoyed. He wants to wait til she is healed up more to clean up that hoof for me.

Epsom salt paste I have and have been using. We all though worry/wonder (vet, farrier and I) if using something that doesn't allow the abscess to properly drain, we may be keeping it up in the abscess itself.

Hope I answered all the questions. The blood tests we pulled were to check the basic CBC and anything else, as well as a Lyme's Disease test because she hasn't had that usual spark and zeal she normally shows and happy go lucky type manner...more slow, a bit lethargic, not that much interest in her hay, and a harder time keeping weight on her. She is 19 years old so I put her on equine senior after doing my research of what is in different ingredients. This is bound with oil instead of molasses, has MSM, condrioten and glucosamine.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-20-2012, 10:24 AM
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How's her coat? Has your vet investigated Cushings?

My QH was very prone to hoof abscesses (it's one of the reasons he was retired at age 19). We always soaked in epsom salts to draw it out (draining is a GOOD thing). A few of them, the vet did actually dig out to encourage draining, but some of them would blow and drain on their own.

Maybe my vet's method of treating abscesses was "old fashioned" but we never did any wrapping, etc. Just 2x daily warm soaks in epsom salts and/or betadine.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-20-2012, 04:02 PM
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Well, here's another thought - based on my experience.

Many years ago, I had a mare that was sound as long as she was on the "standard" antibiotics. Within 48 hourse after the prescription was used up, she was lame again.

This was back in the late 70's, when trucking a horse to a vet with an x-ray machine, meant beg, borrow, steal somebody and their rig on a Saturday morning

X-rays showed the mare had stepped on something and "it" was in our pasture because she hadn't been anywhere all summer. The infection was a dog's hair away from the coffin bone.

She stayed at the clinic a couple days so they could inject antibiotics into her and watch her 24/7.

We came home and spent the rest of the weekend with metal rakes in the pasture. Eventually finding a rotted off and jaggedly sharp metal fence post from an old fence line that we had no idea was there when we bought that part of the farm.

I said all that to say, if you can afford X-rays, it sounds like it might be time for them, so you can determine exactly what's going on inside the abscess.

And yes, setting aside a puncture wound that isn't healing from the inside, cushings is a possibility
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-20-2012, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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I was waiting for the blood test results, called today and the vet had forgotten them in the frig in her truck so I may not know what they are till tomorrow. Definitely gives me something else to think about x-ray wise. If it is a puncture, playing devils' advocate here, would it have presented itself as such 5 weeks ago when the vet came out and opened it for me as she was 3 legged lame? It also has the "smell" of an abscess and the black stuff.

Coat wise, I have never had a problem with Smoke shedding out according to the temp, time of year, and all. The fur on her belly takes a little more time to come out, but that is normal for her. So, for the time, no real reason, based on her personally, we would suspect Cushings. Thank you all though for the idea, will keep that in mind in case....I wouldn't of thought that.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-21-2012, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by GreySorrel View Post
If it is a puncture, playing devils' advocate here, would it have presented itself as such 5 weeks ago when the vet came out and opened it for me as she was 3 legged lame? It also has the "smell" of an abscess and the black stuff.
When my mare had the puncture wound - there were no outward appearances. Back then I was working 12 hours a day, sometimes doubles (trying to save for a horse trailer-lol) and checking hooves more than once a week just didn't happen

She never abscessed - just got lame and couldn't stay sound after she was off antibiotics. There was never any sign of a puncture wound on her soul but again, I was working a lot of overtime, feeding in the dark and barely had to time to brush everyone and give them a quick once-over.

With your horse, it probably is only an abscess but just needs a good digging out by the vet. I just wanted to put the puncture wound out there, just in case, the vet starts shaking his head in puzzled wonder - lol lol

I have learned, thru the years, to go for the X-rays if hooves and legs don't heal in a reasonable amount of time. It is amazing what they may reveal that we drop our jaws and say "no, that's not possible" - lol lol
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