Soaking Boot? Drill a hole? Get a vet?
Our horse, Zeph, started noticiablly limping on 11/16/09, while my friend was riding him bareback. I saw the limp and his discomfort, made her dismount and watched him move out. I came to the conclusion that he was lame (it was quite obvious).
A few days later, our awesome farrier (Roy) came out. Wayne (my step-father) asked him to look at the hoof that seemed to be sore, and Roy immeadatley said "abcess!"and dug it out. I'm disappointed we didn't see this sooner.
We have been soaking his hoof in warm water, and epson's salt. For only about 10-15 minutes everytime he eats. Would a soaking boot help?? He limps constantly and is very uncomfredable. Roy says that it hasn't been long enough for him to come out and look; but we want to know of drilling a hole in the side to allow the abcess to drain will help. We reallyyy can't afford the vet out at the moment, but if he desperatly needs it we will call.
He is getting an anti-imflamitory, and we willbe putting him in a stall soon (we have to build one).
Will a soaking boot help? What about a hole?
I have no pictures. Probably won't for a while, either. But I will try.
Please DO NOT CUT A HOLE in your horse's foot! That should be left for a vet or farrier (and personally, I WON'T cut holes in hoove to probe an abscess unless I'm certain of where it is, and probably not then, either). Cutting a hole could just leave a new point of access for more germs-more abscesses, and you risk causing severe pain for no reason!
Keep soaking. Personally, I prefer to soak out an abscess, rather than open it. Once it pops on it's own, it's usually a done deal. Cutting into it before it pops, usually leads to more festering (much like squeezing a pimple before it's ready to go on it's own) by creating an open hole that lets in more germs before the body is ready to drain it. Soaking helps to soften the hoof so the abscess finds its way out sooner. It doesn' t mean it will be less painful, but I think a day or two of pain before it pops on its own is better than weeks of pain from a hole or secondary abscess.
My other gripe about cutting it open, is if it's the wrong spot, you end up with more holes, and increased likely hood of it spreading to the bones. CUTTING SHOULD ONLY BE DONE BY PROFESSIONALS.
You can try soaking 2 times a day, and allow turnout. Mild exercise can help it pop sooner, but don't push your horse if he's in pain. He'll move around when he can.
i agree with not drilling a hole.
but i want to add that you might want to keep soaking, but after your done, put some drawing salve (Ichthammol) on and wrap the foot. put a piece of cotton where the drawing salve is. or you can use animalintex- which works very well, but is way more expencive. i would use that AFTER the abscess pops to help drain everything out AND keep it clean.
I didn't mean to say it as we would be drilling ourselves, but getting Roy to do it for us.
Under the advice of our vet and farrier - we do open the abscess and allow the poison to drain through soaking. We also wrap.
I lost a mare due to an abscess not being drained soon enough. Never again.
I would be getting the farrier out to see what he can do. Also, soaking is old school, continued soaking will further damage the hoof wall.
This is a very recent article from The Horse:
The Horse | Healing Hoof Abscesses
If you prefer to have the abscess opened, then why post a thread to ask? I just offered my opinion, based on my experiences, and I see more reinfection with cutting it open than letting it pop, and soaking DOES tend to speed up popping time, by softening up the capsule. And you didn't say you were thinking of having it cut open, just should it be cut, so I misinterpreted your post, you could have been asking if you should do it yourself for all I knew.
I find The Horse is very traditionally minded and they have posted a couple of articles that were a bit anti-barefoot in a way. They really support having a vet manipulate the hoof, whereas I feel too much manipulation by penetrating into senstive structures is more harmful than soaking with an antifungal liquid. However, yes, excess moisture of any kind, in a prolonged manner IS very bad, making the hoof more suseptable to bruising, however, in a well trimmed hoof, it's not as catatstrophic as say, having a shoe nailed on, where the hoof is suspended by the wall, which COULD lead to some issues by the over soft tissues giving way to the mechanical forces of having said shoe or poor trim.
Again, just offering my advice and opinion-that soaking is the lesser evil in the treatment of an abscess, and leaves less after care than probing does. Abscesses that take longer to brew are usually more in depth and can involve the entire sole, but , cutting in one spot proboably won't allow enough drainage, and it can continue to cause a lot of pain. A big hole will only expose more senstive structures. Lettting it pop on it's own gives the sole time to form new tissue to cover the senstive structures before it is popped open.
Bute may slow down the progress of the abscess coming to a head, but can offer some pain relief, perhaps not if it's painful enough. If the foot was easier to keep clean and didn't tend to just re-abscess anyway, I would say cutting was a better means, but it's generally not.
Ah, but here's where I asked about everything. This horse is not my personal one, it is my moms. I was seeing what was best for him and was open to all opinions. I just wanted to make it clear that neither me or my mom would be "drilling a hole" in his foot, but the vet or farrier would.
Okay, sorry for misunderstanding...
Abscesses can take awhile to heal depending. Each case is different.
I have a gelding who is prone to abscesses (very flat feet). I like all my horses to run barefoot if I can...but he just always got abscesses and would be off for weeks at a time. I have since started shoeing him on his fronts, as he just was continually lame, so I opted this route for him. So I have a bit of experience in this area unfortunately.
I soak 2/day 10-15 min in warm water and Epsom salts (like you said you were)
I also will pack the foot with an old "cowboy" concoction of Epsom salts, Bran, and Brandy...mix it to a paste texture gummy enough that you can pack the hoof. I cover with a diaper (yep baby diapers are awesome), and then vet wrap the hoof. It works great!
I have also used poultice, Icctamol, these work great as well.
Thing with absseses is that they can dissapear just as fast as they seem to appear. Patience is the key, dont stop your treatments, keep soaking, and packing the foot...eventually it will either pop, or disapate.
Also in regards to drilling a hole...dependant upon what your Farrier says in this case, but that sometimes is the only option. We had to cut a hole in my guys foot one time, as the abcesse was so deep, and large that it was the only way to relive the pressure, as he was in so much pain. So if you do think this is an option for you, it can help, but only do so with talking with both the farrier and vet, and of course as you said the farrier would be doing the actual drilling/cutting.
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