It seems we tend to think Abscesses are a winter thing and something we don’t really need to worry about till the wet season. But this isn’t true at all, basically an abscess occurs when bacteria or foreign matter enters the horny regions of the hoof. There are various way nail – quick, sole puncture etc. I have had a few cases lately where tiny little stones have worked in to sensitive areas as a result of softer hooves, most were under the shoe so hard to see when picking feet out but a real trouble causer. Any hoof abscess can cause a lot of soreness which generally alerts the owner to call the vet. There are some pretty simple steps you can take to ensure you are on the right track with you diagnoses. A horse with any kind of injury in there foot will have heat on and around the dorsal hoof wall and will have a digital pulse which can be identified by gently placing the hand around the front of the pastern just above the hoof. You will feel the pulse more digital in one rather than the other leg indicating which hoof needs the treatment.
Most of the time the farrier or vet will locate the exact area where the injury is brewing and use the hoof knife to extract a drain to release the infection pus etc. This exercise actually brings the horse pretty sound straight away but will require a poultice to keep the area clean and also draw out any remaining infection out.
Poultice # I generally use a few different types of poultice ingredients but there are some good products that appear in most mixtures. Epson salts is a brilliant drawer of bruising and infection from the hoof also mixed with bran or even wheat-bix.
I mainly use a nappie with my mixture placed directly on the sole or over the area in question. The nappie will then be wrapped tightly with a vet wrap type bandage. I then use duct tape over the whole hoof to protect and make it last while walking around in the box over night.
I would normally leave the 1st one on for just over 6-7 hours and check we are drawing something out if there is no sign of infection in our nappie I will then wrap in glad wrap to try and heat the foot up some times draws it out quicker.
I don’t like leaving these on longer than 12-16 hours as these can sometimes be applied poorly or shift and be to tight around the leg.