arthritis, ring bone or side bone causing infection - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-21-2007, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Kentucky
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arthritis, ring bone or side bone causing infection

I have a 23 yr old TWH, he has been lame in FR hoof for 2 months. It started out being an abscess. It opened and drained. I have soaked in Epsom salt. Finally vet came out, opened abscess at top of hoof, lots of infection came out and blood. He then soaked in Clear Trax and put on bute for 1 week. In 2 days the horse was galloping across field acting like 2 yr old. 1 week later he was lame. Vet came back and x-rayed hoof, now says he has arthritis, ring bone and start of side bone but he says it should not be making him as lame as he is. Today I went to barn and the top of his hoof along coronet band has busted open again on its own and there is still infection coming out. I have soaked, I have washed with betadine, it has been wrapped. I am at loss yet again. Vet has given me bute powder and joint supplement that I can leave him on to keep him comfortable. But there has to be something causing that infection to not go away and keep oozing. He has been on penicillin and then SMZ pills. Anyone ever had an infection that will not go away?
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-21-2007, 10:36 PM
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Location: Southcentral Kansas
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Sounds like he has a problematic abscess. When one of my horses gets an abscess I don't go all out with antibiotics and bute. Really it just has to come out when it's ready. Soaking is good, but often just leaving them to work it out works just as quickly. I only give bute when the horse is obviously in a lot of pain and very lame. I only want to knock the top off his pain, not remove it altogether. Turnout is best so they can move as much as they feel like moving but they shouldn't be forced to move a lot.

I don't let vets or farriers dig out abscesses unless it's obvious that the site chosen will give relief. Only done that once on a 3legged lame mare. Farrier prodded and found the sore spot on the sole and poked a tiny hole. It worked because it was highly inflamed and close to the surface, but I don't recommend it as a rule.

My QH had an abscess this summer that took a couple months to resolve totally. Even after it blew out the C-band he continued to be gimpy on it at times. I did minimal doctoring.

Here are pics of his blowout and the growth since. First one is a week or so after the blowout. He had time to grow a bit of hoof as the blowout was in the hairline. OOPS, I don't have a more recent pic on the PC. It has grown halfway down now tho.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-22-2007, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Kentucky
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I have never had an abscess look like this. I just spoke to the vet again and he has suggested taking horse to some specialists in Lexington, KY. They can't figure where the infection is coming from.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-14-2007, 12:40 AM
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Location: Kansas, USA
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Looking at the growth on the hoof wall below, there is altered horn, meaning the where it's growing out has been damaged for a while.

About cutting into abscesses: Don't. If you cut into it, you are introducing more bacteria and such into an already weakened area, which can make it take even longer to heal. As hard as it is to see, it's better to let them get through it on their own. Once their body is ready to let it "blow" then it's isiolated the pocket of pus and it's no longer an entry point to the blood stream, so the exposed hole not a problem. Much like squeezing a pimple before it's ready, you often make it bigger and it takes longer to heal.

If the abscess is on the sole, it's a good idea to pack the hole with cotton balls soaked in idodine and wrap the foot for a couple of days, since the bottom of the foot in domestic horses does tend to be exposed to a lot of manure, to make sure the hole is sealed to the body.but hairline blowouts heal on their own. You can put corona or furacine ointment on if you feel you have to. Oral anitbiotics are usually fairly useless for a self blown abscess, since the body has blocked that pocket off.

Could be that cutting into it introduced more germs, that formed yet another abscess. Sometimes the hairline ones don't drain as fast, so can seem to take forever.

Abscessing usually stems from a stone bruise, complications of laminitis or being quicked by a nail from the farrier. If the pic is of your horse's foot, looks like there's some rings on wall, usually indicative of laminitis, and they can have mild bouts you don't catch, but the walls tell.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-14-2007, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southcentral Kansas
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Darn small pics.. lol Looks like the wall has grown down from there with this indent/crack for some time. It can take up to a year to fully grow out a hoofwall..

I have to assume that this abscess may have a foreign body in it that is aggravating the situation. Perhaps even a bonechip.. You may need to get some kind of xray to find that out.

As bfhooves mentioned abscesses at the c-band are often harder to "cure" as the pus has to travel up to get out. I would try a good drawing poltice on that site for a while. See if that helps.. XXX

And I agree about the rings, something is going on with this horses metabolism.. Light cases of laminitis(which can certainly cause abscesses) or abrupt changes in rich feed. I know, been there, done that.. I would remove all sugars possible from this horses feed program. NO sweet feed etc..

If you can get it where you are I'd recommend Kool & Kalm. Check in at If that doesn't work just google it.. I am feeding this to my old appy as he is pretty much blind and has trouble finding the hay and whatever grass is still around. It is a stand along feed, just add hay etc. Never add Grain to this feed. It also can be fed free choice, btw..
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