Horse Hoof Abscesses
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Horse Hoof Abscesses

August 23, 2019


Hi, I’m Danvers. I’m the Hoof Health Consultant
for SmartPak, and I’m going to talk with you about abscesses. An abscess is a profoundly debilitating issue
that we see, especially in wet environments with our horses. They’ll present with such a lameness that
you’ll think they have a broken leg at times. It’s a very, very painful concern for these
horses. They can be life-threatening. They are, in
fact, not a routine issue. For those of us who live in wet environments,
it seems like they’re routine, but they should never be treated as routine. You need to get your veterinarian and your
hoof care specialist involved. Let them deal with it. An abscess is, basically, a localized infection.
It’s a pocket that has become infected, has walled off. So you have a walled off infection
that’s creating pressure in the foot. For it to wall off, it has to gain entry. So, most often, that’s going to be in the
white line area of the foot or the lamina. It can be anywhere from the toe all the way
around. Remember that the lamina doesn’t terminate
at the heel, it wraps around and follows the bar, so it can gain access
there, as well. You’ll very often see these in the wall, you’ll
see them in the bar. You’ll also occasionally see abscesses that
occur throughout the solar area of the foot. These are much more suspect, because that
usually means that there was some sort of insult where a horse has stepped on something and
created that point of entry. So, that could be that he stepped on a nail,
a sharp branch, or something, but if you see one in the sole, there’s been
something that provided an opportunity for it to enter into that area. So, you very
often have a puncture wound that is associated with one that you find
in the sole. Those, definitely more suspect. The idea is to get that open and vented, so
that you release the pressure. If you don’t do that, it will tend to track
up the wall and finally work its way out and make its own vent at the hairline. If
that happens, then you’ve got 6 months to a year of working with that as
it grows down. So the idea…the best idea is to get it to
vent from the bottom and get it over with quickly, and not have
a maintenance issue for the next 6 months to a year. It’ll also very often track laterally, and
you’ll have a sub-solar abscess. And those are frustrating, because they linger
forever. You’ll have a horse that will be lame for
three days, then he’ll be sound, then he’ll be lame for three days, then he’ll
be sound. And this can go on for months as that abscess
tracks laterally under the sole between the new growth and the old exfoliating
sole. So the key to getting this dealt with is to
catch it early and get it to vent from the bottom not to let it cause the horse pain and track
up over three, four days or even a week before it finally vents on its own. So, you
have to be a little bit of a control freak, make it vent from the bottom. So once that’s
vented, you have to make sure that you draw the infection out of it. The traditional
approach to this is Epsom salt soaks, warm Epsom salt soaks, various veterinarians
will recommend any number of products to use for drawing agents, but
the important thing is to make sure that you do get the infection
to draw out of it. Use a drawing salve, a warm soak, whatever. My personal preference, because I live in
the great mid-wet, and I deal with wet feet, I don’t like to soak, because that’s part
of what got us into trouble in the first place: the foot was overly hydrated, it was wet.
So if I stick it in a bucket of water three times a day, I’m going to exacerbate
the condition. So, I like to use a drawing salve or a drawing
product. I typically will tape Animalintex into the area and let it
draw, that way I don’t have to deal with a warm bucket of water and trying to get a
horse to put his foot in it and stand quietly for 30 minutes at a time.
It’s simply easy to use. You tape it in, ignore it, come back, tape
it in again. Research shows that over 60% of performance
horses suffer from painful gastric ulcers. Loved by riders and backed by research, SmartGut
Ultra provides the ultimate gastric support. Visit SmartPak.com/SGUResearch to learn more. Once the infection has drawn out, you still
have an issue of the potential for re-infection, because you’ve created a pocket that is going
to pack with something unproductive. It’s going to pack with fecal matter, urine,
dirt, any manner of ‘ick’ that’s going to get into that and potentially
reinfect. So, you want to pack it with something that
is productive. That can be something as simple as a cotton
ball soaked in betadine, or it can be a commercially available product.
Once I’m sure that the infection is out, I’ll take a hoof packing like I would use
under a pad. Make sure that you are packing it with something productuve, otherwise
it’s going to pack with something unproductive. I hope you found that helpful. Remember, abscesses
are always an issue of concern. They’re never routine. Stay with us here at
SmartPak as we work on more hoof care concerns.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Show it on a real abscessed Horse or Donkey coz this isn't really great for a beginner or for one who doesn't have that much experience!!!Thank You

  2. My horse actually suffered from one but it was so horrible, we had to put off half of her hoof 🙁 She nearly died but now everything is getting better again 🙂

  3. My horse has had flare ups now and then, especially in wet weather, there is a cavity in the pulpy white line area of the hoof and it has now vented up to the hairline. Every time i treat it and get it cleaned up he is fine for a bit but the infection keeps coming back so i am wondering could i try to fill the cavity with some type of resin or something to keep the dirt and bacteria out?

  4. i'm dealing with this right now on my horse, I can't keep her stalled in the barn all I can do is wrap her hoof to draw out the infection and I put duct tape all around it but it's so muddy I have to change it almost every day. and now I'm reading that there is a hole after will this hole ever fill back in or will I have to always pack it with something? my vet never spoke about this part

  5. A good general video but I sure wish the soaking and wrapping were as clean and easy as it looks here!  No fun dealing with a horse that won't stand in a pan of water or trying to do any of this in -10 degree weather!  Also, he doesn't mention that many abcesses are hard to find (no hole or pus presents itself until several days after soaking begins)Even a good vet or farrier can only guess about whether or not that's the problem so you might as well start treating early.

  6. my horse got an abscess from a torn suspensory..and it blew out at the coronet band, it never tracked down to the sole.. so now I get to wait those 6months to year to have her wall looks sound again.. :/

  7. my race horse has come up lame, for a week now. came back from the track fine, came back at feeding time, completely lame. swelling from ankle up to the lower knee. cold n warm! does a check ligament swell from the knee down? or just below the knee? i lifted his leg straight out n put pressure downward onto the knee n nothing. squeeze here n there nothing. Had xray done nothing wrong. had shoer take shoe off n he couldn't find anything. has the abscess traveled upward n now time will tell? he sleeps with his knee bent! should I pack his feet or soak which way is best? if packing how long do I keep it packed?

  8. my race horse has come up lame, for a week now. came back from the track fine, came back at feeding time, completely lame. swelling from ankle up to the lower knee. cold n warm! does a check ligament swell from the knee down? or just below the knee? i lifted his leg straight out n put pressure downward onto the knee n nothing. squeeze here n there nothing. Had xray done nothing wrong. had shoer take shoe off n he couldn't find anything. has the abscess traveled upward n now time will tell? he sleeps with his knee bent! should I pack his feet or soak which way is best? if packing how long do I keep it packed?

  9. my race horse has come up lame, for a week now. came back from the track fine, came back at feeding time, completely lame. swelling from ankle up to the lower knee. cold n warm! does a check ligament swell from the knee down? or just below the knee? i lifted his leg straight out n put pressure downward onto the knee n nothing. squeeze here n there nothing. Had xray done nothing wrong. had shoer take shoe off n he couldn't find anything. has the abscess traveled upward n now time will tell? he sleeps with his knee bent! should I pack his feet or soak which way is best? if packing how long do I keep it packed?l

  10. my race horse has come up lame, for a week now. came back from the track fine, came back at feeding time, completely lame. swelling from ankle up to the lower knee. cold n warm! does a check ligament swell from the knee down? or just below the knee? i lifted his leg straight out n put pressure downward onto the knee n nothing. squeeze here n there nothing. Had xray done nothing wrong. had shoer take shoe off n he couldn't find anything. has the abscess traveled upward n now time will tell? he sleeps with his knee bent! should I pack his feet or soak which way is best? if packing how long do I keep it packed?l

  11. I have this horse and he has abcess that we are treating, it is drained and we bandage and soak it every night but he is still limping, and I am worried when this will go away it is a very small limp so would it be okay to lightly ride him?

  12. I heard a "natural" farrier say NOT to use Epsom salt or Betadine to soak an abcessed hoof as Both products are a drying agent and will close the hole through with the exudate can drain. She recommended using the animalintex powder devolved In warm H2O for soaking and then wrapping the affected hoof w/the large animalintex pad (moistened) and covered with wrap and duct tape, changing q day.
    Personally, if I were treating an abcess on my foot, I'd soak it in plain hot water (as hot as tolerable), and put ichthamol salve on it and cover it. Soaking and changing bandage BID. (twice a day). I suppose everyone has an opinion…. poor babies though, you KNOW they have to hurt carrying their own weight much more with a rider. :'(

  13. When I first met my boy, he was trimmed by farriers that excelled in shoeing.

    Except my boy isn't shod. So they ended up trimming him too short (a common issue with farriers that mostly shoe and do an occasional barefoot).

    Anyway – rocks regularly bruised his soles until it was able to grow out and provide the kind of protection he needed.

    He walks across rocks now like they're not even there.

    Just thought I'd mention.

  14. What does it mean for a horse to be lame? Does it just mean the horse doesn't want to walk or put weight on the hoof?

  15. Thank you for this video. My neighbor has a horse with this Hoof Abscess condition. I have taken good notes on your talk in this video. After the abscess is cleared up, and you use the Magic Cushion Hoof Packing, should I retape the hoof, using a Sterile pad and use duct tape to hold it on? Roughly, how long do you typically need to keep a horse stabled during the healing course?

  16. Can it take a pretty long time for the abscess to open up? It has been 10 days since my horse first went lame. Lame as in not wanting to put his hoof down. We still cannot see where the abscess is. Been keeping drawing salve on it and wrapping it. But so far. Nothing. I am getting pretty worried, because it is taking so long.

  17. My horse has an abcess and I took him to the farrier, I noticed it blew out at the top of the hoof wall. Does that mean it vented on its own or is it getting worse when it does that? My farrier put cocking stuff like pudding on the hoof then a pad and put the shoe back on, is that the proper way for an abcess?

  18. I knew they were serious ! I knew stones were the enemy! Horses are not meant to be routinely lame. It's never been something i have treated. But saying that i don't think i can remember coming across more than one lame horse in the stables i was at during six years. The vet was called and that was that a week later she was sound.

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