questions regarding hoof abcesses.

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questions regarding hoof abcesses.

This is a discussion on questions regarding hoof abcesses. within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

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  • 1 Post By loosie
  • 1 Post By CLaPorte432

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    03-26-2013, 05:13 PM
questions regarding hoof abcesses.

Rumor finally completed her 6 months of rest before I can ride her again. Low and behold, she is majorly limping as of yesterday. Grrr...its her right front leg, a leg that has never had any issues before. Although it is her slightly clubbed foot leg.

I checked her over completely for swelling, heat, any sort of tender spots. There is absolutely nothing. So im wondering if she either has an abcess that's working its way out. Or...she pulled a muscle in her shoulder. She was perfectly fine the previous day, then last night at feeding time, I seen it.

I will not skimp out on vet care. No need to worry. But since there isnt anything noticeable, im kind of holding off to see if she gets better on her own. Farrier comes thursday.

There is no heat in her hoof, there is nothing that I see wrong with the hoof or frog. No thrush. No smelly frog.

So, is it possible to get an abcess with no puncture wound, or cracks or anything?

Im going to soak her hoof in epsom salt tonight and tomorrow and see if I can draw anything out.

Does a hoof abcess need antibiotics? I have smz pills I can start her on.

Tips? Suggestions? In 13 years of owning horses I've never had to deal with an abcess. I've also never had such an injury prone animal in my life.

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    03-26-2013, 05:18 PM
My gelding used to get abcess all the time with no other problems. And the poor guy would get them in pairs as soon as one would heal another would show up.
    03-26-2013, 05:29 PM
It is possible for a horse to get an abscess with no noticeable hole or crack. Bacteria only needs the smallest of openings. After you soak the hoof in Epsom salts and the bottom of the hoof is clean, sometimes, if there is not a lot of dead sole to scrap off, you might be able to see a dark spot that indicates where the infected area is, even though the abscess has not yet pushed through. That is assuming that it is coming out the bottom of the hoof. Since the farrier is coming tomorrow, he should easily be able to tell you if it is an abscess. In the meantime, soaking it is a good idea.

I don't use an oral antibiotic when treating abscesses, but I do use a topical one at the sight of the abscess.
CLaPorte432 likes this.
    03-26-2013, 10:43 PM
Well, I cleaned her hoof really well. She has about 1 Inch of really nice growth coming in. The clubbed foot does seem to have some chipping at the bottom and 1 crack (superficial sand crack) on the outter wall. This is the hoof with the problems.

The hoof itself is not warm. But...the coronary band is warm. Not hot, but a definite increase in temperature compared to her other hoof, which is in good condition. I do not feel a pulse, and still no swelling or tenderness when poked and prodded.

She is on a hoof supplement from SmartPak. Unfortunately, she hasn't been on its long enough to make a difference. Just a few weeks.

She has improved walking on it. Still tender and will have a bad touchy moment here and there, but not a severe limp like it was. Her trot was very lame as she went into the barn. But so far, I see improvement.
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    03-26-2013, 10:48 PM
Possibility she may have gotten a stone bruise? Any tender spots on her sole?
    03-27-2013, 02:37 AM

If there's no great heat or bounding pulse, I wonder why you were thinking abscess? Without more info I'd guess 6 months of 'rest' may be the more likely culprit. Obviously sometimes it's unfortunately necessary to do that, but keeping horses cooped up is not good for them in a range of ways, including causing soundness issues. The rest could have also been the reason for an abscess too.

Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    
so, is it possible to get an abcess with no puncture wound, or cracks or anything?
Absolutely. Puncture wounds cause abscesses(or worse) but they're not common. Cracks & otherwise 'open doors' to infection can sometimes result in an abscess, particularly if there are also mechanical problems IME. But abscesses commonly come about due to hoof bruising, contraction or otherwise 'assaulted' hooves, where the tissue is damaged or dies and the abscess/inflammation is the body's way of pushing the necrotic stuff out & healing the injury. So...

does a hoof abcess need antibiotics? I have smz pills I can start her on.
I disagree generally with antibiotics or bute(anti-inflams) for abscesses - don't suppress it, let it 'rip'. But you can help it come to a head & relieve your horse's discomfort with soaking & more exercise the better - tho don't force her either. At any rate, you don't even know if it is an abscess & I wouldn't be giving anti-b's to a horse without very good reason & vet's advice. If for what ever reason the vet does advise, I'd be feeding a probiotic after the anti.

She has about 1 Inch of really nice growth coming in. The clubbed foot does seem to have some chipping at the bottom and 1 crack (superficial sand crack) on the outer wall.
Not sure what you mean by the first sentence but sounds like the other inches aren't nice growth?? Perhaps she had terrible feet & your management has allowed for a start on nice ones? If so, abscesses wouldn't surprise me, as they're a common thing that goes with compromised hooves. Chipping just likely means she's due for a trim & while I'd take notice, I wouldn't stress about it.

Superficial cracks just in the outer wall are IMO generally diet/nutrition &/or the horse has been living in a damp/wet environ too long. Either way, healthy diet & well balanced nutrition will make them less susceptible to this, so it's great that you've started her on a good supp - & will hopefully soon notice these cracks growing out & getting less. Especially if the horse isn't in a dry, clean environment, I would however be concerned with seedy infection getting in & worsening the cracks, so I'd get the farrier to deal with them assertively if he feels the need & advise you on appropriate follow up treatment.
CLaPorte432 likes this.
    03-27-2013, 08:32 AM
There are no tender spots on her hoof. Not the wall, or the frog, or the heel bulbs.

Loose, there is heat now in the coronary band. Its warm, not hot. Like I said, I've never dealt with an abscess before, therefore I'm not completely sure of the signs. That's why I'm asking questions.

I purchased her back in August, and her care has changed dramatically. The new growth on this hoof looks very good compared to the rest of the hoof which is just "okay" looking. But the rest of her feet are nice. Its just this one clubbed that's doing this...

It is muddy here...spring. So I'm doing my best.

Also, she was on 6 months of no riding rest. Not stall rest. She is rarely stalled and out on pasture. She was back to 100% riding sound until this a few day ago.

Thanks for the help Loosie!
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