Originally Posted by loosie
You know the Cat Empire? "...Every time she walks past I start choking on my pencil & fall flat on my a***" Careful what you wish for asking him for lessons then!
I will never say never about this & there are times when it is best to open up an abscess. I also think soaking, to soften the tissue if an abscess is brewing can be very good. But *generally speaking* I think it can often be a lot more trouble or risk than it's worth to 'go digging'.
& yes, IME too I'm not sure vets are generally any better - & could be worse IME - than a farrier in their knowledge & skill of hoof problems. But I still look upon invading or opening up live tissue as a vet's domain & will not go there without a vet's say so. As for 'don't dig sufficient holes', I have to ask, what on earth is going on with the horse if you need 'sufficient holes'?? I've actually had the opposite experience with vets & farriers & abscesses, as it CAN be very difficult to pinpoint the problem(assuming there is a 'pinpoint'), especially if the hoof is generally sore, or the animal is 'stoic'. We have all had/seen horses who were 'treated'(dug) for sole abscesses & who burst through the coronary border or heel. I've had vets dig soles all over the shop, saying 'you need to follow every possible tract'... One horse I've seen to had a nearly penetrating sole, the vet had applied hoof testers, found it painful & started digging!!
I can't say I know the Cat Empire
I've just come across another local farrier (by complete coincidence on facebook actually) and he is coming by this morning, it's been almost 5 weeks since the horses were last trimmed and their hooves are growing like nobodies business so it was good timing that he happened to be coming by this general area this morning.
The two times I used a vet for an abscess she put as little of a hole as possible, wrapped it up with antibiotic ointment and told me to leave it for a week then change it... One week later, the hole was nowhere to be seen and Mitch had an abscess re-brewing... He went through 4 abscesses that winter, 3 recurring on one hoof because his hoof hadn't been opened up to drain sufficiently, and 1 on the other hoof.
When I say sufficient hole, I mean the hole was not much bigger than a pin prick and the puss couldn't escape through it. When my farrier digs the holes, he gives me a clean shoe nail to keep the hole open with, so still not terribly big, but big enough to keep open and I now re-wrap every day if I get an abscess. Mitch is very easy to tell if he has an one, in his world his leg is going to fall off and he will be dying very shortly... He's such a drama queen, but will only react in the spot where the abscess is.
I always soak in epsom salts every day for 5-6 days between finding the abscess and having my farrier out (not that I can do that anymore since he lives so far away, hence looking for a new one), I have soaked for longer before but never been able to have it burst through on it's own due to soaking.
I feel really bad about trying to find a new farrier, and I'm not sure what to tell my regular, he is very good and he sends out a txt every 6 weeks letting us know he will be down that week etc, but at the moment 6 weeks just isn't cutting it, especially with DJ who wears down the inside of her hind hooves and then the outsides start to flare if not taken care of in a good time frame.
That and if I have an abscess I can't just ring up and have him out, and I would rather it be that whoever generally does hooves for me is the one that takes care of everything, because they get to know the horse and what they're doing with that specific horse etc, I don't want every tom, dick and harry out every time something needs doing, I'd rather stick to just one.