Recurring Abscess!

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Recurring Abscess!

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  • Insulin resistant horses and hoof abscess
  • Horse has recurring hoof abcess

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    01-16-2013, 12:05 AM
Recurring Abscess!

Hello All,

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with a recurring abscess. My mare Lilly has been healthy as a... well, horse for the last 11 years. For whatever reason, in the last 4 months, she keeps on getting an abscess in the same foot. The vet's been out, done X-rays, we've given her antibiotics and it seems to somehow resurface. The vet confirmed she is not laminitic and there aren't any other underlying issues that she can see that would cause her to be lame.

Has anyone ever had this happen before? Is it just coincidence that this is happening in the same foot and all of her years of never needing a vet are now just compounding into the last 4 months? She is staying with a friend of mine right now and she was going to soak her foot in warm water and epsom salts and then attempt to make an epsom salt poultice and secure it to her foot. I'm almost wondering if the snow and ice have not allowed the abscess to fully drain and that's why it keeps resurfacing. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Any suggestions on what could be done?
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    01-16-2013, 12:14 AM
Has the abcess blown out? I seen a horse that was just flat prone to abscesses and treated constantly. Finally the answer was to shoe with pads.
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    01-16-2013, 12:43 AM
Yes it has. I was going to edit my post realizing I didn't cover that. There is a small hole out the front of her hoof and the farrier came out to do a trim and when he pared off some sole, there is a definite cavity leading to the hole on the front. No pus or other fluid coming out though. Could snow getting inside cause soreness also? She spends the majority of her time outside and really does not like to spend extended periods of time in a stall. While the ground is usually frozen and snow covered here at this time of year, it's gotten really warm and it is a sloppy mess everywhere right now. Would that cause issues for a padded shoe with moisture getting inside?
    01-16-2013, 12:51 AM
No. A padded shoe is filled w/ epoxy which is quite amazing when you feel it dried. The gun leaves a lil mixed and it is soft but strong. Hard to explain.
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    01-16-2013, 01:03 AM
Hmm, something to think about. I know what epoxy is, so I understand what you are saying about its texture. Is that something that you would recommend while the abscess cavity is still there, or not until after she fully heals?
    01-16-2013, 01:06 AM
While its still an issue. And quite possibly for a while afterwards.
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    01-16-2013, 02:49 AM

Afraid recurring abscesses are either a sign of ill health of the hoof generally, or that the treatment/management is not great. Would need more specifics & pics to tell you more than general stuff though.

Abscesses can come about due to 'one off' type affairs, like kicking or stepping on a particularly sharp rock, or injury to the coronary border. They can occasionally be due to penetration from a nail or such too. But recurring or frequent ones - more than once in a blue moon - are generally symptoms of problems in what lies beneath, thin soles, stretched laminae, separation/seedy infection, bone chips, etc.

That the abscess has burst on the sole(did the farrier dig for it or was there a hole when he came?) means that there is a fair chance of reinfection, or continued infection if it wasn't treated properly - antibiotics won't kill fungus, or stop reinfection from anything. They can also suppress the infection rather than get rid of it, especially if there's a foreign body/necrotic tissue still in there. Likewise, bute & other anti inflams tend to suppress the inflammation but don't fix the prob.
walkinthewalk and Glynnis like this.
    01-16-2013, 09:21 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by loosie    

Afraid recurring abscesses are either a sign of ill health of the hoof generally, or that the treatment/management is not great. Would need more specifics & pics to tell you more than general stuff though.
^^^Ditto. The only horses I am familiar with that had recurring abscesses, literally one on top of the other, had immune issues and health issues.

The health issues were Insulin Resistance and Cushings. Eleven is plenty old enough for either.

You could consider bloodwork.

Also, you don't mention what the horse is eating. IMHO if she's eating any sort of grain and soy products (including ration balncers) I would get her off them to reduce the starch load as much as possible.

If she's eating alfalfa, it might be best to get her off that or at least reduce it down and mix it with a quality grass hay.

If, on the off-chance, you are feeding BOSS, get her off that five minutes ago. BOSS is high in iron and Omega-6 but no Omega-3's. Omega-6 is known to exacerbate inflammation of any sort.

These are just some diet things that can be done to help but they don't always.

During the last six months of my friend's IR/Cushings horse, nothing she did would stop him from abscessing and abscesses had started in more than one hoof. The diseases had suddenly drug his immune system down so low that he also ended up with pneumonia.

I'm not saying this is the case with your horse but this is a first-hand experience of what MIGHT happen when the root-cause of recurring abscesses can't be discovered and brought under control.
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    01-16-2013, 01:41 PM
I might have some pictures of it, but I'm not sure. When I'm home, I'll take a look.

Hmm, all very interesting. The hole was already present before the farrier dug for it. Because it's in the same foot consistently, I'm going to agree with Loosie that perhaps the original treatment wasn't sufficient and so it keeps coming back. The first abscess she had was in the Fall and it erupted out her heel. I soaked her foot in epsom salts twice a day for 10 days along with antibiotics and bute to try to keep her walking to increase blood flow. Ever since then though, she's been on again off again sore and I then recently discovered this second one. Her hooves have always been on the soft side and prone to chipping despite various supplements and hoof conditioners over the years. This summer was incredibly wet and hot, so perhaps she contracted something that hasn't been totally killed. Do you have any reccomendations to try and clear this out? Right now, she's with a friend of mine who has been soaking her foot in epsom salts daily. She also sprayed the cavity with iodine. Are there any other at-home remedies to try out or would you say to just continue on this?

Walkinthewalk, thank you for your insight. I hadn't thought of insulin resistance. Lilly is on the chubby side and as a result isn't fed rich feed. She is on grass hay right now. From what I've read though, obesity can be a symptom of insulin resistance, so I will be talking to my vet to see if she thinks we should test for it.

My friend texted me this morning to say that she is looking better today, but I'll believe that's a good sign if it lasts.
    01-16-2013, 05:08 PM
Foreign body should not be eliminated as a possibility. A small piece of a stick or something that an X ray doesnt show will absolutely not allow one to heal up.

Also a sequestrum could be possible as well.
loosie likes this.

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