Leg swelling and abscesses???? Help.

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Leg swelling and abscesses???? Help.

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  • Horse's leg keeps swelling after abcess
  • What to do about an abcess on a horses leg

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    01-04-2011, 07:19 PM
Leg swelling and abscesses???? Help.

I have a 9yr old AQHA mare who has started having lameness issues. Started out 2 months ago I noticed she was favoring her right front leg. She had swelling in her fetlock. So I kept her stalled and kept stress line 2000 on it and buted her for pain. Few days later an abscess drained at the outter corner of the Cornet. She started recovering and a few weeks later she developed swelling to the left hind leg and started favoring that leg. Same thing happened. Few days later she had an abscess that drained out of the outter corner of her cornet. So today I was looking forward to riding her again. Pulled her out of her stall and her left front leg is swollen with heat to it. Her left hind leg has slight swelling without heat. I'm not sure if there is some sort of illness or disease process that causes multiple abscesses and swelling. I would love feed back and ideas of how to treat her.
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    01-05-2011, 12:24 AM
Super Moderator
Are you using some kind of hoof conditioner or dressing?
    01-05-2011, 01:37 AM
My horse just had 3 abscesses, the best thing you can do is call the farrier, other than that dress and wrap the hoof and soak in epsom salts. I would caution against too much Bute as you can't really tell if they are ok or not if they are not feeling the pain.
    01-05-2011, 08:21 AM
I do use a hoof dressing, Horseshoer's Secret. I only used bute with the first abscess because she would hardly put her foot down. Since then I haven't been using it.
    01-05-2011, 10:20 AM
Super Moderator
Well -- quit softening her feet. Healthy feet are hard as rock and impervious to everything. Most of the people I know with abscess problems think they are doing their horse a favor by applying hoof conditioners. Healthy hooves come from within just like good hair coats and skin.

Feed a Vitamin supplement with high levels of Vitamins A & E and Biotin & Methionine. You need a healthy immune system and healthy hoof growth.

Then, keep your horse's feet as dry and hard as you can. Keep them out of mud and manure if you can and make a dry spot for your horse to stand and eat if she has to be out in the mud.
    01-05-2011, 10:27 PM
If she's getting heat and swelling, you might want to consider a few other things. Keeping her stalled prevents the natural movement she needs to keep the circulation going in her legs. I really felt bad for Dancer when she had an abcess - but the farrier said to leave her alone and let her deal. She dealt better than I did.

Also - you might visit with your vet to see if a round of antibiotics may be in order. I don't like using them unless it's necessary, but in this case, it may speed up the healing and/or prevent the spread of infection. Your vet can advise you on that over the phone.

You also need to figure out what is causing the abcesses in the first place. Are they the result of stone bruises? (that was Dancer's issue) If your horse's hoof is too soft due to the possible over use of hoof dressings - your horse is more likeley to bruise easily. Dancer's feet were horrid when we first got her. She looked like she had four bells at the end of her legs. It took the farrier over a year to get them looking normal and toughened up.

Is her stall bedding retaining too much moisture? It really needs to be kept uber dry. Has it been raining/snowing in your area? If she's spending time in muddy areas - that could be a contributor to soft feet. Are you feeding a sweet feed? Somewhere I read (can't remember where) that sweet feeds and too much grain can contribute to soft hooves. That's why our horses are fed forage based feeds rather than grain based feeds. For the most part, anyway. They do get a little grain based feed (not a sweet feed) in the winter (they are pastured 24/7 and it can get cold here in Oklahoma).

I know I'm not much help. I generally don't go running to a vet for every little oddity (I'm more likely to call our farrier - even for a cough). I really believe that less is more - and our horses heal/recover in spite of all we do for them rather than because of what we do for them.

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