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btru2yrslf 01-17-2010 01:47 PM

Questions about Abcesses (hoof)
I have a horse that is prone to abscesses (hoof). It seems to occur shortly after the ground has been saturated for long periods of time after being bone dry. Could this be or is it a coincidence? Also, I was wondering if anyone has experience with "preventing" abscesses from occurring. IOW, if they can be a result of saturated ground, would using a boot to help keep the hoof dry be a help?

I am sure that when considering that the ground is wet, some may be thinking is NOT thrush as it blows/gravels and he is sound again. No thrush has been prsent during an occurrance. I have also had two sets of x-rays to be certain and they both yielded nothing other than a substantial bill :?.

For treating the abscess once lameness occurs, i am soaking the foot in warm water/*EPSOM* for 10 minutes and then packing with either *ANIMALINTEX* or a sugardyne mixture, or both. I do 12 hours on, 12 hours off. It does not seem to matter whether the horse is stalled or turned-out as when lame, he is turned out in a small enclosure alone. He does not move more than he wants.

Would you please share your experience with treating/preventing hoof abscesses so that I can best treat this issue? Thank you, kindly.

SeeinSpotz 01-17-2010 02:43 PM

My moms mare Roxxi had an abcess about 4 years ago. The Ferrier came out and was trimming her and well there it was. It was his first time coming across an abcess as well. well i had it wrapped in vet wrap and soaked it in epsom salt. it was new to me, and i was scared that i would hurt her but she was alright!

kevinshorses 01-17-2010 03:06 PM

I have used a product called Jim Rickens hoof ointment with good results. The abcess could be caused by a bruised sole. Is your horse shod? If not you might consider it. I have never had a horse with shoes on get an abcess.

btru2yrslf 01-17-2010 05:20 PM

Yes, kevin, he does have shoes. Looking for Jim Rickens....ahhh found it. Is this for thrush Kevin? can it be used to draw out wounds? Thank You.

Anyone ever heard of wet ground conntributed to the caue of an abscess?

btru2yrslf 01-17-2010 06:21 PM

--->>>Kevin, nevermind, I see it is two different products. I am currently using Cornucrescine, but will try your suggestion afetwards. thanks again:wink:

loosie 01-17-2010 07:01 PM

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Recurrent abscesses are an indication of very unhealthy feet.(I'm hoping that's a no brainer!<G>) I would expect that your horse has weakened or separated laminae & thin soles. IME they are usually the product of laminitis/lamellar damage, or stone bruises. That they apparently happen(I assume you mean lameness/pain?) when it gets wet may be because the hooves soften then and so thin soles will be even less protection from stones. It may also be to do with circulation - the soft hooves are able to be more flexible despite the brace of the shoes, so more blood flow begins to push the crud out. But that is all conjecture without having further info. I'd be interested to see some hoof pics, one of the xrays(they likely show more than you think) and some more info on his management, feeding, etc. Specifically about the abscesses, please tell me whether they generally happen on the soles, frogs, coronet, or various places? And aside from wet weather after dry, what do they appear to follow? Eg. Do you ride on rough/hard ground? Do they happen soon after shoeing, or when the shoes have been on a while?

I think it sounds like you're treating the actual abscesses correctly. I would be soaking in epsom salts or ACV in water a couple of times a day when the horse becomes lame, to soften the horn & help draw it out. I'd do this for a day or so after the abscess has burst. I would be booting or otherwise protecting & supporting the horse's thin soles in order to prevent subsequent stone bruises and allow the horse *comfortable* support of frogs & soles & give him as much exercise as possible.

IME as a hoofcare practitioner who deals mostly with rehab, I find that conventional metal shoes are generally unhelpful & often cause further damage to sick feet. I would generally only consider using them on healthy feet, and would take them off this horse pronto & use boots/pads to protect him. If you do choose to keep him shod conventionally, then I would at least be using pads, to provide some protection & support to the bottom of his feet.

There are a number of factors which effect the feet, including *good* & frequent hoof trimming. Diet, nutrition, exercise and environment all play a huge part. There are many & varied 'experts' with many & varied levels of knowledge & skill, so make sure you have done your homework to at least have a fair idea what options & approaches there are and what 'experts' may be worth listening to. is a great place to start learning about hoof function & factors that effect their health.

tealamutt 01-17-2010 08:39 PM

In reference to your question about a wet, muddy environment predisposing to abscesses, yes absolutely. Try to get his feet dried out at least once a day and pick them out twice a day if possible.

I know it is frustrating to spend money on x-rays that don't show something horribly wrong, but remember, what you bought was assurance that you were not neglecting a more serious problem! Best of luck to you two through this wet, nasty winter!

KiwiGal77 01-17-2010 08:51 PM

When the horses feet have been dry and hard for ages and then they become soggy they soften a lot, this is the perfect time for the hoof to abscess and expell things that havn't been able to out when the hoof is so hard and dry.

You might find soaking his feet for 15mins a day in water while they are hard and dry over summer could help. Chances are if anything needs to come out it will be able to, rather than being stuck inside the hoof all summer building up until the hooves get some moisture.

Treatment sounds good, except I would swap a confined area to a larger area and encourage as much movement as possible (a boot may help with this to make him more comfortable on his feet). Movement is essential for good blood flow and this in turn will help the abscess come out quicker. Personally I never bothered wil poulticing/wrapping until the abscess had burst, then I did for 3-5 days to help draw all the infection out. I just soaked throughout - before the abscess has burst and after the abscess has burst. Epsom salts are great.

I'm so glad you havn't let anyone go in with a hoof knife to try dig it out!! Have seen so many stuffed up soles due to this, and usually the abscess will burst up at the coronet or heels anyway a couple of days later.

PaintHorseMares 01-17-2010 09:39 PM


Originally Posted by btru2yrslf (Post 524522)
Also, I was wondering if anyone has experience with "preventing" abscesses from occurring. IOW, if they can be a result of saturated ground, would using a boot to help keep the hoof dry be a help?

When the ground is continuously wet like it has been around here this year, the old timers all use betadine (iodine) on the sole/frog everyday.

btru2yrslf 01-17-2010 09:57 PM

Long Response to Loosie
some more info on his management, feeding, etc. Specifically about the abscesses, please tell me whether they generally happen on the soles, frogs, coronet, or various places? And aside from wet weather after dry, what do they appear to follow? Eg. Do you ride on rough/hard ground? Do they happen soon after shoeing, or when the shoes have been on a while

Hello Loosie,
Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed reply. it was very helpful and I hope that you do not mind if I continue the correspondence?

In response to your questions, the horse has his feet done every five/six to eight weeks. Previously, he was stalled at night and turned out during the day in the winter and then stalled during the day under the misters during exceptionally hot summer days. Currently and since June, I have him turned out as much as possible and only bring him in during really bad weather. The pastures are grass. Prior to this, he had abscesses only in the spring, but recently we have had 25" of snow followed by a tremendous amount of rain. This has left the ground saturated for almost a month after being completely dry. This is the first time he has abscessed in the winter, but always in the RF.

He is presently on a diet of Carb-Guard, timothy/grass mix, Glanzen Lite and SandTrap+DFM 1 week out of each month. While on the SandTrap, he gets no other supplements. After rotational worming, I give 15g ProBios. He also gets electrolytes during extreme hot/cold as needed. During the grazing season, the pellets will be reduced by ½ and instead of supplementing the Glanzen Lite, I give Platinum Performance . Also, during the spring I will periodically use a grazing muzzle, mostly during the morning hours. He is 16 hh Paint and my goal is to keep his weight around 1018 on the tape. I would say his BCS a 5-6.

Currently, I am reading Nutrient Requirements of Horses, Sixth ed., to learn more about the impact of proper/poor nutrition, specifically in regard to Lamintis. Although he has never exhibited a Laminitic episode, I am worried that with his recurrent issues…this is a distinct possibility.

The abscesses generally come out from the bulbs closer to the coronet band but they have also blown out from the hoof wall (quarter) dead center. Other than the wet weather and it occurring only in the RF, it is not apparent what they appear to follow. I keep detailed records for this purpose and can detect no apparent pattern. Prior to this recent occurrence, I would have said "Yes! In the spring and in the RF”. He last had his feet done on January 8 and also has snow pads. He came up lame on the 15th. During the months of rapid growth, he gets his feet done about every 5 weeks and during the winter every 8 weeks, religiously. He has not always come up sore right after being shod. In fact, the first time this happened, my primary vet conferred with my farrier and this why he now has shoes. Prior to that, he was barefoot.

I mostly ride on grass but will use my indoor when the ground is frozen. The second to the last few times I rode him was on sand in the indoor during the snow/rain andthen outside on the 15th of this month when the ground was softer, it was then that he seemed slightly off to me as we trotted but was sound at the walk. I immediately began to treat as I have explained, and posted the day after.

Yes, it is apparent that his hooves are unhealthy…and I would like to get the environmental variables under control the best I can. Although I cannot change genetics, I do realize I am missing something. Thus far, I have invested substantial amounts in search of a diagnosis. I have also had him Meclofenamate. It worked the same as bute. I try not to give bute as I have been told that it slows the drawing out of the abscess. I have had 3 different vets and 2 farriers look at him. I have also had 2 trainers give their input. Digital radiographs have been sent to China to one of the primary vet's peers during the Olympics. The review was brief and yielded only possibilities with no definitve diagnosis. I have been told “…it is matter maintenance”. I am exhausting my attainable resources hence posting for similarly shared experiences.

Thank you for all of your help, time, and honest replies...even if seems to be a no-brainer to you, it may be news to me....LOL!!! :wink:

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