Alternative Treatment no. 1 of an Abscess in the Hoof 


 


Fig1


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Fig 4d


Fig 5

     In this case, the horse was very lame to the point that he was jumping on three legs to avoid stepping down on the afflicted foot. Amazingly this happened over night even though the horse was shod about 5 weeks prior. Hoof testers were used to localize the effected area. The horse was sensitive mainly about one inch below the coronet at the left quarter (left side on the photo fig 1) Very small and deep hole was found (enlarge the photo and small arrow depicts the area) on the bottom of the hoof on the left quarter. Even though there was another hole present in the white line, the horse was not at all sensitive in that area. The small hole (depicted by the arrow) was enlarged and deepened using small object like a hoof nail. Following steps were taken the first day:
  1. The shoe was removed and the foot was soaked for about 15 minutes in a warm soapy water (using Palmolive , not Epsom Salt!)
  2. The hoof was then rinsed off with clean water and dried off. (It is important to have the foot dry for the Vetrap to stay on.)
  3. The small hole was cleaned again, as deep as possible using previous mentioned method.
  4. 7% iodine was infused into the hole.
  5. The sole of the hoof was packed with Ichthammol Ointment using a gauze (Fig 2 and 3)
  6. The hoof was then wrapped in the fashion depicted in the illustrations below.
  7. The suspected area of the coronet, where the abscess could break through, was painted with Reducine (Fig 9) to keep the are soft and clean from presence of bacteria.
  8. The horse stayed in the stall through the process and the grain was removed from his feeding program.

   The horse got very much sounder the next day.

   Following steps were taken the second day:

  1. The entire process described above was repeated, except the "digging into the hole".
  2. There was no Reducine painted on the coronet, since the infection seemed to be under control. The break through the coronet was no longer expected.

   In this case, the horse was sound within three days. Note, there were no other medication used in taking care of this problem. Often folks and some vets as well, will treat the horse with Butazolidin. If the case would be only an inflammation of the sensitive tissue (laminae) then it would be OK. However, since we are almost never sure that it is such case and that there is no abscess (infection), we are better of treating it as if there would be one. The reason for it is simple. 

  1. The Bute will reduce the inflammation and also the ability of the horse to fight the infection. 
  2. Also by reducing the inflammation in a case where the abscess is trying to break at the top of the coronet, we will slow down the whole process and your horse may be lame for several weeks. 

   I never like to use any pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs in this case, as it usually prolongs the suffering of the animal anyway. However, if the threat of foundering exist on account of severe infection of the laminae, that may be another matter. Never the less, I have treated successfully many severely abscessed feet without using Butazolidin. I am aware of the fact, that it is very painful to see your horse suffering, but it is better for him when it is over quicker. 


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Fig 9

      
     In the case that you wish to turn your horse out with the bandaged hoof, it is recommended that you use something like the "easy boot" as depicted on the photo. 

     Important!
     Please, make sure that the boot as well as the "Vetrap" is not too tight in order to insure proper blood circulation. For the same reason, make sure that the Vetrap is not covering the coronet band (see all photos)

Related Articles:
Alternative Treatment no. 2 of an Abscess in the Hoof. (deep abscess)
Alternative treatment no. 3 of an Abscess in the Hoof (opening - drilling)

All my comments are merely my opinions and beliefs gained from 40 years of professional life with horses. All drugs should be used only by the consent of a veterinarian and according to his instructions. A person who is with the horse everyday, should know him better than anyone else.