View Full Version : Poulticing Abscesses - some advice please

28-04-11, 09:56 AM
Okay - I've rung the vets - they can't get to me until tuesday and advised me to talk to my farrier, he's out of the picture until Saturday/sunday - and the horror child is limping and getting worse.

So i've been advised by the farrier to poultice.

I've never poulticed an abscessing foot before - farrier has advised warm water, epsom salts and vetwrap.

Do i change twice a day? more often? Its as muddy as hell out there and wet to boot....

my lunchtime run to the shops will be for epsom salts? cotton wadding? what else?

28-04-11, 10:04 AM
You can use Animalintex - it's an all in one medicated poultice with a plastic backing, so it's great for feet as it keeps contamination out. Follow the directions re a warm poultice and bandage on firmly with elastoplast type bandage (not vetwrap). if you use two rolls in a figure eight type manner it should last a day at a time until the abcess is drawn out, or your farrier can see to it. Ideally a Davis boot over the top is best.

G Dog
28-04-11, 10:05 AM
Just get some animal lintex poultice badage.Clean the hoof,vetwrap it on and with luck,if it's near the surface it will draw it out.
Epsom salts will work,bran poultice will work or just leaving it will work.Abcess will generally burst on their own.Just keep it clean.
You can investigate the sole to see if you can pop it yourself but don't go digging any huge holes.If it's deep it will come out at the coronet or the heel bulbs.
Antibiotic shot if you are worried.If it pops and the puss is green then definately antibiotics.If it's just grey liquid you generally dont have to worry. A good idea to give them a shot just in case.
Abcess keep vets in landcruisers:)

28-04-11, 10:06 AM
You can buy Cotton poutice from the produce, soak it in warm salty water then apply to area with the plastic facing outwards then get your vetwrap and off you go.
I dont wet mine I just apply dry and vetwrap it but each person has a different way of doing it.
As for how often to change, I would leave it on for as long as it will stay on but generally it will be hanging off with in the day.

Someone else might have some better advice than me though

28-04-11, 10:10 AM
Will reply when I have more time on how I treat abcesses, but if you are rushing to the saddlery, those Decron hoof kit thingos can come in handy (I don't use them though), also see if you can get one of those canvas hoof boots for this horrible weather!:) I found it helps to keep it all in tact and not so muddy!!

28-04-11, 10:12 AM
ps. You cut the Animalintex to size - no need to shape it or anything - just a square big enough to cover the sole. You can use vetwrap for the first layer but you definitely need an elastoplast bandage for the outer layer otherwise the horse will walk through it within hours in muddy conditions.

28-04-11, 10:23 AM
If you put elastoplast over the vetwrap over the animalintex and concentrate on binding the edge of the hoof with a few layers of the elastoplast it will take a bit longer for the hoof to grind through the bandage and it to come off.

You also want to be keeping it off the wet ground (good luck with that with conditions at the moment).

If you can put a rubber hoofboot (like the barefoot riders use on stony ground) that will work even better.

There's also a canvas boot-y thing that I've seen advertised that looks like a good aid to keeping bandaged feet clean and dry (bit late for you now of course, but looks like it might be a useful thing to have in the tackshed; I keep meaning to buy one).

I prefer a wet poultice in the early stages to soften the hoof and allow a drainage hole to open up. Change every 2 days for 6 days and then a dry poultice changed every 3 days for another week. As soon as the horse stops limping you know the abscess is draining (and thus relieving the pressure). I usually have them back in light work the second week as long as they are not limping at all.

28-04-11, 10:29 AM
This is the best boot I've come across for keeping feet clean and dry:
It would be worth asking at your saddlery if they have one in stock. They're not cheap but are invaluable to have on hand.

28-04-11, 10:39 AM
did i mention he has a stable in his paddock that i can shut and that' he's one of those horses that would rather stay in his stable when its wet?

it is just sooo wet in brisbane. I've never seen the ground like it, its like walking on wet sponges - the water is seeping out of the ground.

Will get some of the animal lintex at lunchtime then - so its clean, poultice, vetwrap, animal lintex and then elastoplast?

do i change the poultice regularly or do i put it on, leave it on until horror child wears it off, then reapply?

28-04-11, 10:46 AM
Animalintex is the poultice. For me, it is animalintex, held on with Elastoplast and then covered by vet wrap. I use a whole roll of each and the full animalintex.

I usually try and leave the same poultice on for at least 24 hours, bit longer if it is holding up well.

28-04-11, 10:47 AM
LisaL, the animalintex IS the poultice; so it's clean, poultice (animalintex), vetwrap, elastoplast.

In the early days, changing the poultice is more important so every 2 days or when it falls off, whichever is the sooner :D.

And yes, locking him in the stable would be fantastic. It will also help the bandaging to stay on.

28-04-11, 10:48 AM
The Animalintex is the poultice so:
Clean foot
cut Animalintex to size and soak according to instructions
Vetwrap it on to hoof
bandage liberally with elasatoplast bandage
Preferable to do it daily until it erupts, then every couple of days.

28-04-11, 10:54 AM
I'm curious as to why you would cut the animalintex to size and only pack the sole? I like my poultice to cover the whole hoof, including the bulb of the heel and the coronet band if possible.

28-04-11, 10:59 AM
Animalintex is very expensive and it's not going to do much good on the hoof wall since abscesses almost never break out there. You want the chemicals to be absorbed ideally into the sole and open up a drainage point in the sole.

28-04-11, 11:06 AM
Of course it is not going to come out the hoof wall, but all abscesses I have ever had have broken out at the coronet band or top of heel. Can't see the point of poulticing just the sole, just to save a few bucks in animalintex.

28-04-11, 11:13 AM
Older abscesses are the ones breaking out at the top. You ideally want to catch them very early before they've travelled up through the hoof hence the animalintex on the sole to soften it and allow the entry point for the infection to reopen and drain.

28-04-11, 11:23 AM
You're missing the point I am making, cbz. My point is why only poultice one possible area of break out, when for the same effort you can poultice the sole *and* the coronet band/heel? Same poultice, same amount of vetwrap and elastoplast.

Anyhow, each to their own.

28-04-11, 11:24 AM
Hi, LisaL. I am going through exactly the same thing as we speak.

My boy started as a nasty stone bruise, but developed into an abcess, over the Easter break of all times!! Getting a vet out has been a drama in itself.

After advice from vet over the phone on Tuesday (had a flat tyre and couldn't come out til next morning), we poulticed his hoof by cutting the animalintex a little larger than the hoof, taking care to have enough to cover the bulb, and as advised by others here, wrapping completely. It has lasted 2 days, even in this mucky rainy weather.

Vet was due to come out yesterday morning, but flat tyre again, so due to come out after 3.30 yesterday afternoon. Emergency happened, so coming out this morning.

Still waiting.........

28-04-11, 12:46 PM
Lin2, what cbz said. I know a lot of abcesses do erupt at the coronet band and often with no complications but, if at all possible, you really really want to draw it through the sole rather than track bacteria up the length of the hoof wall, esp. if the abcess is near the toe. Erupting near the heel is not so great a risk. For me it's not about the cost but rather the least amount of potential damage to the inner structures of the foot. In Lisa's case, with any luck, poulticing just the sole will allow the farrier to get to it at the weekend with the minimal amount of digging.

28-04-11, 12:59 PM
I must admit while living down the coast and not having easy access to saddleries.... I would soak the hoof in Epsom salt and scrub the foot clean of any dirt. Would then have layers of rags- normally an old clean sheet then ductape like crazy!!! Lasted well. Also heard of people once wrApping foot putting foot into chaff bag and add another layer of tape. The best possible outcome would be to locate the site- generally a very hot spot have a light dig and hope that the infection clears :)

28-04-11, 01:00 PM
foot soak using tepid water + epsom salts (20 mins 2x a day until burst - some say to let the horse move around as much as possible as it will work the pus out, but i feel it is better to yard the horse (i'd prefer not to stable) until the abscess has burst, i wouldn't want the toxins in the hoof to go throughout the horses circulatory system - keep an eye on his temperature and overall behavior (ie, look out for infection) edit: good choice screwloose)

you could get away with using electrical tape instead of elastoplast

you could also use nappies in place of the impregnated lintex - use magnoplasm in the nappy (get from chemist) then bind to/around foot with electrical tape

this is what draws out the gunk in the animal lintex: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragacanth

here is some information on animal lintex that will help you make a more informed decision: http://www.3m.com/us/healthcare/professionals/animalcare/pdfs/equine.pdf

superglue is handy to fasten the tape together so it does not come undone as easilly

28-04-11, 01:07 PM
LisaL, have a look at treacle's second link. The last photo on the last page shows a hoof being bandaged with green vetwrap - it shows the figure eight configuration I mentioned. It's a very good way to securely bandage the hoof.

28-04-11, 01:28 PM
If it is wet and muddy, and you can't do anything about it. I often put the banaged foot into and old car tyre tube to help keep it clean.

28-04-11, 03:07 PM
If it is wet and muddy, and you can't do anything about it. I often put the banaged foot into and old car tyre tube to help keep it clean.
had a lady come into where i use to work who cut up a push bike tyre and put that around the edge of the hoof then taped- apparently it worked great!

28-04-11, 03:46 PM
i'm gunna ask.....

in the past i've always had the vet lance the abscess, lance, antibiotics, bandage....and because of logistics horsey has not been confined, horsey has been in the paddock, and horsey has got the bandage wet....and walked around....and got the entire thing sodden and falling off after two days - although - even encrusted in mud and wet grass, when i've changed the bandages - its still been clean near the sole.

i've never had an infection....

i don't have the option of yarding the horse....he has his stable, he has his grassy paddock off his walk in/walk out stable, and we will not discuss the muddy furrow that is the weeklong tantrum about his best mate being away at training and the fact that ponies are not worthy of being acknowledged as equines by something as mighty as the 4YOAhole...(i am counting down the sleeps until his bestie is back.)

have picked up animalintex at lunch, i have a hessian bag in the back of the car, i have vetwrap in the first aid kit.....and there's duct tape at home.....this may have to do....

28-04-11, 04:01 PM
LisaL i personally think that will have to do!!! you could always soak horses foot in salt water too- seems to be good for everything :) if all else fails improvise :P

28-04-11, 04:17 PM
It should be fine, Lisa.
I have fortunately only had to deal with three abcesses in all the time I have owned horses. The last one recurred and ended up being a drama but my vet said it was just plain bad luck. He told me that in most cases you can cut an abcess, drain it and tip the horse back out in the paddock with no further treatment and in 90% of cases it will be completely fine. He says it happens with broodies all the time. If enough sole is cut away that you draw blood, or discover a large cavity of infection, then antibiotics are a good idea but otherwise plugging the hole with a bit of iodine soaked cotton wool for a few days is usually enough once it's drained properly.
Hopefully yours will draw out in a day or two.

28-04-11, 07:35 PM
I am sooo the queen of vet practices in the dark....

and the 4yold is a good boy about having procedures done in the dark - plonk a bucket of feed in front of him and he'll stand there and put up with me washing his foot through 3 different buckets of water, scrubbing the foot, drying the foot, applying the hot poultice and then bandaging with the vet wrap and then the extra cover of a chux superwipe and then a layer of gaffa tape.

and all done in the dark by feel - he can be a good kid when food is involved!

and so far its cost me

$19.95 for the animalinex
$15.00 for a kettle from the $2 shop

and thankfully i had the chux superwipes, scissors, gaffa tape and several rolls of vetwrap to hand.....

now to see if my doctoring survives the night....

28-04-11, 07:44 PM
$15.00 for a kettle from the $2 shop

Sounds like you got "done". :D

Fingers crossed it all stays in place. You need to give us an update in the morning because we'll be wondering.

28-04-11, 08:03 PM
Be wary of the canvas poultice boots in very wet conditions - mine didn't last long at all. I'll second the truck inner tube method or layers of feed bag held on with gaff or electrical tape.

28-04-11, 11:39 PM
Feed bag corner cut about a foot deep, put toe of hoof into corner then tape the rest around pastern over the top of poultice/bandaging... Will last 24-48 hours at a time and does a great job of keeping things a bit dryer