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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,128

    Default Foot Abscesses - Best Treatment?

    What's the best way to treat an abscess that hasn't erupted yet? Have had several conflicting opinions from different sources. My own vet, who treated pony's previous abscess (diagnosed February this year) is happy to adopt the wait and see approach. Pony isn't lame at rest, just footsore on hard rocky ground. We have already ruled out more serious issues.
    The more I find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it ...

  2. #2

    Default

    I have one at home that is terribly prone to foot abcesses, its so frustrating.
    I have made a method thats combined from the advice of a few different people! Soak the foot in warm water with epsom salts then I use an equissage boot to try and get the abcess to blow out. Once its blown, dig the hole out slightly then pack the abcess hole with betadine and sugar and wrap to draw the infection out and dry the infection site.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    53

    Default

    1. Try to get it to burst... having it burst naturally means a way faster healing time than hacking a hole in their foot. I can't for the life of me get my horse to stand with his foot in a bucket of epsom salts but have heard lots of people swear by it. If your horse is stoic about it being sore (i.e. still weight bearing) and loves a good canter as much as mine does sometimes you can get it to burst naturally through movement... fine line though, I always make sure I'm sitting lightly, only on grass (no rocks) and offering an opportunity to canter as opposed to demanding it. Taking your horse for a walk in a halter is a less extreme version of that. It feels awful to cause them pain, but if you're certain it's just an abcess movement is not going to do any harm and may do some good!

    2. If it won't burst naturally within 4-5 days of lameness, it may be time for a vet or farrier visit. I made the mistake of waiting once and the abcess ended up sublimated (spread underneath almost the entire foot)... that required a very large hole and a long time to fix unfortunately so I'll never make that mistake again.

    3. Animalintex poultice and cover changed twice daily until there is no more gunk... nappy and elastoplast covered by a poultice boot works brilliantly. I highly recommend Loretta from N'Hay Gear (look her up on Facebook) she makes kevlar lined poultice boots that will last for a couple of weeks to allow day grazing in the paddock! I coated my horse's foot in iodine, stamped it on a white sheet of paper, used a ruler to mark measurements on there and emailed it to her to make up the boot. She posts if you're not local.

    4. Stop covering ASAP to let it dry out and harden up... but not while there is still an open wound as you could cause reinfection. Once the wound had sealed over the vet suggested pouring a mixture of iodine and methylated spirits (50/50) over it to help harden the hoof. Seemed to work well. If it's wet, try to keep the hoof dry to give it a chance to harden and heal properly. Sawdust in a stable might be soft and comfortable, but it doesn't help the hoof to harden up so a dirt floor is ideal if you can do that for a few hours at least a couple of times a day.

    I'm not an expert, but this is my method drawn together from talking to a few experts, asking lots of questions and doing lots of reading. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Hunter Region NSW
    Posts
    119

    Default

    When my guy had one someone suggested to call a farrier rather than a vet (less $$). My farrier is an old guy who was been around forever. He basically said that the closer it is to bursting the more painful it will get and not to worry when i see him getting worse. As soon as it burst he was relieved and walking properly again. Nature worked it all out. Horrible to see your horse in pain though!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,128

    Default

    Thank you Wellanbah. My farrier and vet both are of the same opinion. It's worked for my horse in the past, and no doubt will do again. It does seem odd though that I've had him for over 4 years now and it's only this year that he's started having problems.
    The more I find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it ...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Armidale
    Posts
    778

    Default

    This year has been a shocker for abscesses. My Vet has said that is has been a majority of their call outs.

    I Just poultice and bandage it on. Always seems to work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,404

    Default

    If he's not lame unless on rocks etc, I'd probably let it make it's own way out... or I'd smother in Tuffrock poultice every day and let that have some drawing powers on the foot ...sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't...But if you have an entry point that you think is the way in for the abscess... I swear by Venice turpentine .... it's like a sap consistency and if you warm it up and shove it into the crack or around the area you suspect..it has a drawing power like no other!
    Nothing like normal turpentine..and it's quite expensive but worth it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Brisbane Queenzealand
    Posts
    1,400

    Default

    "It depends"

    The question is what will leave least damage to the hoof capsule?

    If the abscess can be accurately located and excised with a small excavation, that is best (least damage to hoof). Some are ridiculously easy, others not so much.

    If unable to locate accurately and excision may be exploratory and consequently unsuccessful and/or large, better to let it blow.

    This may change from day to day.

    Caveat: Not all vets or farriers are skilled enough at excision, even if it's an easy one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,404

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ShoeMan View Post
    "It depends"

    The question is what will leave least damage to the hoof capsule?

    If the abscess can be accurately located and excised with a small excavation, that is best (least damage to hoof). Some are ridiculously easy, others not so much.

    If unable to locate accurately and excision may be exploratory and consequently unsuccessful and/or large, better to let it blow.

    This may change from day to day.

    Caveat: Not all vets or farriers are skilled enough at excision, even if it's an easy one.
    ....yes... but not many vets or farriers will come along and own up to 'not being skilled at excision'.... you only find out after your horse's foot is turned into swiss cheese!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Brisbane Queenzealand
    Posts
    1,400

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by k8 View Post
    ....yes... but not many vets or farriers will come along and own up to 'not being skilled at excision'.... you only find out after your horse's foot is turned into swiss cheese!
    Caveat Emptor.

    The equal risk is massive damage to laminae and/or underrun sole.

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