I have been battling mild thrush for a few months now, its been such a mild winter that the ground almost never froze, and when it did snow, it would melt leaving pastures muddy for almost 4 months straight, then spring rain... Anyways! I have been beginning to realize my horses frog was not in the greatest shape, not ideal, but nothing to worry about, I just continued to treat the thrush and with Thrush Busters and making sure to always clean him up and keep on top of picking out his feet. He goes outside all day and comes in at night. He is a VERY VERY SLOPPY horse and although his stall gets cleaned everyday he still gets manure packed in there, I do pick his feet out everyday. 24 hr turn out is a no go, and I can not go to clean his stall more then once a day. It is bedded well but still, horses are horses!
A few weeks ago I brought my horse in from the pasture and all was good. I started to prepare for riding and picked out his foot, as I was gently picking out his foot he jumped out of the way and wouldn't put his left front hoof. The frog was slightly torn on the inside, and there was a VERY VERY slight amount of blood. I was dumb founded, I jogged him and he was dead lame. No heat in the leg or hoof. There seemed to be something (looked like blood) coming in small amounts from under the frog. The left part of the frog seemed to be torn open, but not torn off. It did not really seem that thrush was to be the cause, or the frog. It was thought to be an abscess, so I treated it as so. Soaking it in Epsom salts, mixed with a little betadine, packed it with icthamol and wrapped it up to keep it clean. When my horse previously had an abscess it drained quickly and all was good. I continued to do this for 3x and it didn't seem to get better.
I called my farrier and he came and looked at the hoof. He felt the hoof and said it felt hot ( I suspect it was only warm because it had been wrapped up for 23.5 hours a day for 3 days) and suspected an abscess. He acknowledged that there was some slight Thrush and recommended that once we get rid of the suspected abscess we consider packing the hoof and putting a pad on for a cycle ( my horse is regularly just shod all around ). My horse seemed to be getting better with my soaking and eventually appeared to be sound. I gave him a few days off and went on a light trail ride a few days later. He was sound, but acting semi out of character. I figured he just had to much time off and just walked around outside for awhile figuring id school him throughout the week. I went back to work, he had probably 2 more days off and I went back to ride.
It was really rainy so the horses did not get turned out and I decided to free lunge my horse to let him stretch before riding and to be surprise he was dead lame. My barn owner noticed as well and stated that he had noticed my horse walking strange a few days ago and picked up the hoof and noticed a wood chip stuck near the hoof bulb, he pulled it out and walked my horse into his stall figuring that was the reason for the funny walk. I cleaned my horses hoof fully, nothing was stuck in the hoof, but he was still lame. No heat, no puss, but an abnormally funky smell, different from thrush. I figured maybe the stench was from the fact that horses hoofs are touching nasty surfaces all the time. The vet came a few days later and I decided to get her opinion well she was here! She examined the hoof and cut off the part of the frog that looked torn, there was some nasty puss and discharge and she scraped excess parts of the hoof off.
She stated that "a sensitive part" or the hoof was exposed and that he would not be sound on it until it grew back. She recommended that I put a pad on the hoof to protect it and pack it with copper sulfate because she did acknowledge that there was some bacteria. She stated that she believed the hoof had been sliced and then bacteria got in the hoof. She cleaned the hoof extensively, told me to pack it with betadine and cotton to kill anything in there, then put a pad on so the hoof can grow back. She expressed her dislike for pads, but stated it was the only real option. I have been packing the hoof and getting it clean. I decided that I did not want to put a pad on, because I want to monitor the hoof and its progress and did not like the fact that the pad could trap moisture and I would not be able to see inside the hoof for over 6 weeks. I have been wrapping the hoof in a diaper duck tape boot, then putting a hoof boot over it so that he can go outside if it is dry. The hoof has been staying extremely clean, and dry for 1 week now.
He is sound with the duck-tape boot on, as long as nothing is in the hoof to push against the sensitive tissue. I am not riding him and another farrier told me that it should take about 2-3 weeks for the area to cover back up and grow back. I was wondering if anyone had ever experienced this, your experiences and opinions. I have attached three pictures. The hoof is redish because a) the shoe is starting to rust because its been soaking and not wearing down, the farrier and vet said its fine for now, b) the hoof is orangish/red from the betadine I use to keep it clean.