Question about Hoof Bruising/Abscesses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 10-31-2011, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Question about Hoof Bruising/Abscesses

One week ago my vet diagnosed by OTTB with a bruised foot. He was a little lame, which is why I called her. No swelling or heat in the legs. She said it was very clearly from when he grabbed his shoe and prescribed rest for five days along with Bute, and epsom soaks and poultice.

I gave him seven days rest and got on him last night and he's still lame. Not worse, about the same, and only at the trot. He's sound walking and standing.

Vet is coming back tonight to take an xray of the foot. My questions are:

1) Can a bruise take so long to heal (more than ten days)? Can the bruise lead to an abscess?
2) Can an abscess be seen on an xray?

She said that if she suspects abscess after the exam he will be put on antibiotics. Farrier will also come to see if he can find it.

Now, worst case scenario vet painted was a coffin bone injury. Does anyone have experience with that? Would a horse be sound walking and have no swelling if they had that?
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post #2 of 25 Old 10-31-2011, 02:13 PM
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I can't help you with the coffin bone injury - I haven't had to deal with that. My mare did get a bruise on her hoof last summer. It developed into an abscess, and took about three weeks or so to blow out. She was never three legged lame, just gimpy. Vet said to leave it alone and let nature take it's course...as long as she didn't go too long or get any worse. Once the abscess blew, she quit limping.

Not saying that your horse will follow the same pattern, but it could be that it's just going to take longer than a week to heal up.

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post #3 of 25 Old 10-31-2011, 02:37 PM
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I was always under the impression that it is more painful for an absess to work it's way out, then to have the Vet dig it out. Funny, one of the 2 teenaged girls in my "Pony Club" asked why I have a bag with disposable diapers and duct tape. Though I've only had 3 absesses, my first Vet dug the absessed hoof out with a hoof knife to release the pus, then had me diaper it and secure with duct tape, changing the bandage every day until the would had suffiently closed. (The horse was on stall rest throughout the healing time.)
I haven't had enough experience with absesses to know if Epson salts would help, but I bet they do. You are right to take this seriously, you know, "no hoof, no horse." I'm sorry you're going to miss riding time.
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post #4 of 25 Old 10-31-2011, 02:43 PM
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I a product called Jim Rickens hoof ointment. It smells vile and would probably kill you instantly if you drank it but it does wonders for hoof abcesses. I don't like the vet to dig them out.

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post #5 of 25 Old 10-31-2011, 02:55 PM
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If it's an abcess, it can be weeks before it works it's way out at the top. Often, at it's worst stage the horse will set it's hoof down and lift it again almost immediately. In it's earlier stages it's difficult to tell what is going on, slight sprain, bruise or abcess.
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post #6 of 25 Old 10-31-2011, 11:28 PM
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Coffin bone injuries will not swell--they can't, since they're locked inside the "cast" of the hoof capsule.

I would not give antibiotics to an abscess that has not burst.

Radiographs do seem to be warranted.
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-01-2011, 01:53 AM
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I have one Tb that seems to be prone to the abscesses. Actually both of my Tbs have had them but one mare has has two in the last 6 months. She was lame for about 3 to 4 weeks laying down alot and really gimping on that leg. Once it blew we gave her antibiotics in her feed and she was fine.... by the time I called the vet and he got out to my place the abscess had ruptured and she was on the way to recovery. The next time it happened I knew what it was and just called the vet and got the stuff to treat her myself.

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post #8 of 25 Old 11-01-2011, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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So, the vet was out last night. She said that the heat in the hoof, where he landed on his bent shoe after grabbing it, is 50% LESS than it was 7 days ago. She said the digital pulse is also lower. However, both are still slightly elevated. He trotted for her and the slight head bob persists only at trot. She said that spending all the money to xray and nerve block wasnt worth it, in her opinion, when it was so clear that he badly bruised his foot and the heat is right in the spot he injured.

She decided we should treat it more aggressively. She pulled his shoe to make sure that if there is an abscess it "has a way out". Equally, if one of the nails was bothering the bruised area. Every day for seven days I start by soaking him in warm water with epsom salts, she wants it to cover the coronet band. Then, I am to slather itchmathol (sp?) all over the foot, not just the sole, but the entire hoof, even into the coronet band. Then, I wrap his entire foot in a diaper and duck tape it. She wants that on him 12 hours per day. She asked that he only be turned out for part of the day in our soft indoor arena, alone so he doesnt play with his buddies. The turn out is in lieu of his large outdoor field with uneven surfaces.

She said that on Sunday we will ask him to trot again and if sound, we'll have his farrier replace the shoe next week.

I hope this works!
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-01-2011, 10:28 AM
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I am really starting to question your vet's competency level. Did she even use hoof-testers? Has the farrier been called in to evaluate with the vet present?

The treatment she is describing is not for simple bruising, either. She's acting like he has an abscess. And if he does, and since it has not burst yet, it's time to a) take X-rays and b) be more aggressive.
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-01-2011, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, she used hoof testers. He flinched when used in the same area where the trauma happened, which is consistent with her thinking. However, she thinks a bruise should be healing more quickly. That's why she pulled the shoe. If I recall correctly, she said that a bruise hanging around for a while can result in an abscess. So, she wants to give it "every chance to come out", which is why the treatment such. She wants to soften the areas where they like to come out.

If we are treating it like a bruise and an abscess, isn't that agressive enough?
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