Abscess- course of action to date-now confused! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-08-2011, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Abscess- course of action to date-now confused!

To try and give a brief Hx of said horse- Very end of Oct. purchased an OTTB, mistake one was to pull rear shoes off....after Thanksgiving saw an equine chiropractor and we both felt he was too foot sore to go without shoes till he grew some more heel, so called Farrier to put shoes back on at next visit ( Dec 27th ). 2nd week in Dec. brought heavy snow, with a sudden melt down then hard freeze, making the ground rocky and very uneven. All seemed the same. Then with Christmas, we didn't go to the barn for a few days till the farrier appointment. Pulled horse out of pasture to discover he was very lame on rear foot. She tested him and felt it was an abscess near coronary band. Classic signs. Gave me instructions to soak in warm water and epsom salts then make a poultice of sugar and betadine and apply to whole hoof area, wrap in disposable diaper, vet wrap and duct tape. Did this for 5 days and no improvement. Had one day we couldn't make it to change bandage and BO took it off so he went 24 hrs. with nothing on. Decided to try same routine but with an Epsom salt poultice instead for a couple days, and still no signs of it blowing out. Another Farrier was coming to the barn and I asked him to take a look at horse. He wasn't very invasive but pushed, tested and said he too felt it was an abscess ( 95% sure ) and does not dig out abscesses. Didn't feel I needed to call Vet unless I wanted it dug out but told him it was my next call if needed to R/O fractures (horse is not reactive to sole ). However he told me what I had been doing for a poultice was actually drying him out and making hoof hard...and suggested ichthammol instead. He did NOT identify location of possible abscess. So, here we are 12 days later, no blow out, still off and not sure what to use to poultice him and where to put it. I know ichthammol can irritate skin so do I put it only on the sole even if my farrier felt it was going to blow out coronary band? I've also read about the Animalintex poultice pads. Do I use something else? Does the winter temps ( 20's) affect the time it takes to blow? I've never had to personally deal with one, only watched friends and their horses. I'm calling Vet on Monday but till then I'm going to treat as an abscess. What variables could I be dealing with if any and what is a better poultice in this weather if there is one? I've also read some folks deal with waiting for these to blow for up to 3 wks or more.....eeekkk!
Thanks in advance for input.
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-08-2011, 11:53 AM
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My horse has an abscess right at this very point in time.
I don't know if this will help, my horse's abscess is on the hoof wall, but we pour a little iodine (or betadine, if we don't have any) onto some cotton wool, put that onto the sole of the hoof, put a square of gauze roll about the size of the hoof over the cotton wool, then wrap the whole hoof in a bandage.
Again, I don't know if this will help, given the location of the abscess.

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post #3 of 19 Old 01-08-2011, 12:17 PM
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Betadine/iodine is actually drying, so I wouldn't use that.

All I have ever done is soaked 2-3 times per day in warm water with epsom salts and keep an easyboot on in the meantime to keep it moist and clean inbetween soakings.

I had one instance I thought was a abcess and the vet had me soak it and after more than a week I called back and the vet felt that if it hadn't blown out by then, it wasn't an abcess afterall, just badly bruised. That foot never did blowout, but he finally started to get better. It took a long time. The horse (near 30 at the time) developed ringbone later and so looking back on it, I wonder if it was a flare-up of that.

Anyway, betadine in contra-indicated because it is a drying agent. But I used to do that too before I was told otherwise.
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-09-2011, 03:33 PM
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IMO your 'mistake one' was one of the best things you could do for starters if the horse has unhealthy feet. Another good move could have been to protect them with boots or such, if they aren't in a condition to carry him comfortably. Not against conventional shoeing as such, but generally believe it's not a good idea unless hooves are healthy & strong. For one they provide no protection or support to the underside of the foot, which especially needs it if it's weak & sensitive. Hoof boots or Vettec Sole Guard or such are couple of good options for hoof protection that still allow & support the healthy, strong growth.

Without much more info(hoof pics?) can't guess at your particular situation, whether the apparent abscess may have been caused by a stone bruise to the sole or frog(common when soles & frogs are weak) or more serious problems, or if it was a 'one off' type accident. But generally, lots of movement is great for hooves and for helping abscesses burst too. But the common catch 22 with this is that the horse is too sore to move. If you can pad the hoof, or otherwise help him be comfortable enough to exercise, this will help. I wouldn't use bute in this case, as the inflammation is the body's way of fighting the infection. If a pain killer is needed I would opt for one that wasn't anti-inflammatory.
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-09-2011, 03:43 PM
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I know a pony who has an abbcess in his hoove for the past 3 months...It is not getting better at all. Poor thing =( It is not looking good for him.
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-09-2011, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarahandlola View Post
I know a pony who has an abbcess in his hoove for the past 3 months...It is not getting better at all. Poor thing =( It is not looking good for him.
Abscesses can be 'one off' affairs, but they are commonly a symptom of other issues & general ill health of the hooves, so it really pays to learn what's what. The pony's owner may learn a heap from hoofrehab.com for eg.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-09-2011, 04:46 PM
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hi,sounds like this abbcess has been going on for sometime as its tracked up to the softest point ,my laminitic horse sufferd for ages with them ,best to get vet to treat as they will recur if not drained properly and can make your horse very poorly good luck.

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post #8 of 19 Old 01-10-2011, 04:19 AM
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I have always used epsom salt and slight bit of iodine. My founder horse unfortunately gets abscesses a bit. Poultices work well in drawing out the pus. Is there any way to get warm water to the barn to soak his foot? Only asking as this helps drawing it out too. Try not to soak his foot too much though....could cause a weak hoof. I usually keep my boy stabled in a large stall for 3 days at least. I then try to bribe him with small pieces of carrot into taking short "walks" with me to get some exercise. After those 3 days I let him out into the paddock to walk freely. His abscess usually has blown out by then. I have had several come through his band though. It sucks. You can ask your vet about some pain med to help your horse out. Oh, also, I rub a light liniment on his other 3 legs to keep them a little more free moving. Your horse will bearing a lot of extra weight on the other 3 legs....so be careful. Hope he gets better.
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-10-2011, 10:18 PM
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My friend's horse just had this happen and he had his for almost two months. She soaked it so much it made his feet really soft and the farrier told her to stop. Still it didn't blow out. So she called her vet and he told her to keep in on stall rest. Do you have him on stall rest at all? If non of that works then I would call the vet and see what he can do.
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-11-2011, 07:29 AM
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A high abscess can be time consuming.

My farrier now suggests soaking in hot water and Murphey's oil soap, instead of Epsom salts. It helps soften things.

A little ichthammol on the skin is not an issue. It is a drawing agent. People use it on their skin even.

Honestly, skipping a day is not doing your horse any favors. If you can not make it out to attend to your horse's medical issues on any given day, find someone who can do it for you. You might have to pay them.
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