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  1. #1
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    Sep. 11, 2008
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    Default Crack in Hoof

    Ok-My horse Sam has developed a horizontal crack in his right hoof about an inch from his coronet. He is not limping and no heat in hoof. Coronary area is a bit puffy but no heat. I pressed on it and he had no reaction. The best way to describe it is it looks like a wire cut into it. He didn't have it until a friend took him out on a trail ride-then it was just a small groove. I have never seen a crack like this. SOmeone mentioned stress fracture but he isn't limping-farrier concerned but said I shouldn't jump him (I don't jump as it is)

    Any suggestions?



  2. #2
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by piaffequeen View Post
    Ok-My horse Sam has developed a horizontal crack in his right hoof about an inch from his coronet. He is not limping and no heat in hoof. Coronary area is a bit puffy but no heat. I pressed on it and he had no reaction. The best way to describe it is it looks like a wire cut into it. He didn't have it until a friend took him out on a trail ride-then it was just a small groove. I have never seen a crack like this. SOmeone mentioned stress fracture but he isn't limping-farrier concerned but said I shouldn't jump him (I don't jump as it is)

    Any suggestions?
    What you're seeing is the aftermath of a hoof abscess that broke out the coronary band. It should have been drained from the bottom but since it wasn't this is what generally happens.

    Is nothing you can do about it now but wait for it to grow down and eventually break off. At that point your horseshoer will be able to deal with it.
    George



  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JHUshoer20 View Post
    What you're seeing is the aftermath of a hoof abscess that broke out the coronary band. It should have been drained from the bottom but since it wasn't this is what generally happens.
    What do you mean "should have been drained from the bottom"? This implies that someone should have actively done something to cause the abcess to drain from the bottom. Did you really mean that? If so, I wholeheartedly disagree. It's SO much easier to keep a "gravel" clean, than to keep a hole in the sole clean. And, if the coronet band is the closest, easiest exit, I'd much rather it get out sooner, with a shorter track, than try to dig it out from the bottom.

    It also would seem that the OP never knew there was an abcess to begin with, and those are the best kinds!
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  4. #4
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    Jun. 17, 2008
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    Default

    How Ironic. I am dealing with the EXACT same thing on my geldings right hind hoof. Sounds exactly like yours, same spot, etc. Doesn't bother him at all. I notice hes abcessed in the hind end a few times each hoof, they have all come out thru the hoof. I was never aware of any of the abcesses (until I see a crack like this or my farrier tells me he had one) as hes never taken a lame step.



  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    What do you mean "should have been drained from the bottom"? This implies that someone should have actively done something to cause the abcess to drain from the bottom.
    Correct
    Did you really mean that?
    Sure did
    If so, I wholeheartedly disagree.
    Have drained more of them than you've got hairs on your head. Is no big deal. Used to be taught in any 2 week wonder horseshoeing school.
    It's SO much easier to keep a "gravel" clean, than to keep a hole in the sole clean. And, if the coronet band is the closest, easiest exit, I'd much rather it get out sooner, with a shorter track, than try to dig it out from the bottom.
    Demonstrably incorrect. If the abscess isn't drained from the bottom it will take path of least resistance and break out up top. This can cause long term damage to inside of hoof including coffin bone damage possibly resulting in fractures later down the road. Not to mention instant pain relief for the horse rather than days of suffering and more hoof damage.
    It also would seem that the OP never knew there was an abcess to begin with, and those are the best kinds!
    I would opine that the OP didn't know because she wasn't paying attention. Abscesses like this in most cases result in their being hopping lame.
    George



  6. #6
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    Jun. 11, 2007
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    Default

    My boy has a horizontal crack on the outside of his right fore. Didn't notice it until the farrier was out and pointed it out... almost 3 months ago. Horse has been lame for a long time in the left fore due to an old coffin bone fracture. Farrier mentioned the crack and that was it. Didn't know that they are due to abscesses. Is that always the case, as in 100% the reason why a horse would develop a horizontal crack? It's about a fingers width below the coronet band. No issues (swelling/heat/pain). Kinda odd. I've just been monitoring it but that's about it.
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog
    Photos



  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JHUshoer20 View Post
    If the abscess isn't drained from the bottom it will take path of least resistance and break out up top. This can cause long term damage to inside of hoof including coffin bone damage possibly resulting in fractures later down the road. Not to mention instant pain relief for the horse rather than days of suffering and more hoof damage.

    ...

    I would opine that the OP didn't know because she wasn't paying attention. Abscesses like this in most cases result in their being hopping lame.
    Pardon my ignorance, but the only gravels I've ever experienced have been on hind legs with no lameness. Luck of the draw on mine and others, perhaps?

    I am curious about the possibility of fractures (or other problems) down the road if an abscess drains up top rather than from the sole. Explanations, please? From everyone!
    RIP Bo, the real Appassionato
    5/5/84-7/12/08



  8. #8
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    Default

    My farrier once pointed out a similar crack on my mare as being the result of an abscess. She had never been lame.



  9. #9
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    Default

    I have never ever (knock on wood) had a horse go lame preceding an abscess popping through the coronet band. The only times I HAVE had horses go lame from an abscess is when they are on the bottom of the foot.



  10. #10
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    Feb. 12, 2004
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    Default

    Sometimes those abcesses just pop out over the top of the hoof at the coronet band and stoic horses don't say anything. Nobody is the wiser until the hoof grows out.



  11. #11
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    Nov. 18, 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JHUshoer20 View Post
    If the abscess isn't drained from the bottom it will take path of least resistance and break out up top. This can cause long term damage to inside of hoof including coffin bone damage possibly resulting in fractures later down the road. Not to mention instant pain relief for the horse rather than days of suffering and more hoof damage.

    I would opine that the OP didn't know because she wasn't paying attention. Abscesses like this in most cases result in their being hopping lame.
    George
    George - isn't breaching the sole a surgical procedure?

    Surely it depends on where the abscess originates and the route it takes to get out. If it's sub-solar there may be justification for opening the sole - if the abscess is ready to drain and if you are able to get into it first shot and if you can keep the foot clean. But, if it's in the wall, it may be the shortest route is out through the coronet and it never makes it to the sole - so how do you drain it? And alot of abscesses break out through the bulbs not the top of the hoof.

    I had a horse with an abscess in the quarters which some gung ho vets decided to cut out - the damage to the foot and the pain the horse suffered was far worse than allowing the thing to track up and out through the coronet or wherever.

    As to you 'opining' that the OP wasn't paying attention - that's almost as insulting as it is pompous. I've seen horses blow abscesses out the toe and heel without having been 'hopping lame' - depends alot on how big it was, how it tracked through the foot and the ground conditions.



  12. #12
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    Default

    Thank you George Myers, exactly.

    If an abcess is closer to the coronet than the sole, first, how on earth is anyone going to know that, and even if you can magically determine that, why on EARTH would you go digging more than halfway INTO the foot to get it out the bottom? Why would you want to create a hole in the bottom of the foot THAT long, causing the foot to be wrapped and medicated for however the heck long it takes for that hole to fill in, when a naturally occurring hole at the coronet band would heal so much faster with so much less fuss?

    My goodness, if a farrier ever suggested to me that we go digging to China to find that abcess, he'd never step foot near my horses with any tools again.

    And yes, to flat out say that the countless people who never knew their horse even had an abcess until they see the crack starting to grow down is so unbelievably insulting.

    I can tell you, with no uncertain terms, that a gravel does not have to make a horse lame at all, much less "hopping lame". I HAVE seen quite a few where, in hindsight, I could attribute the newly discovered gravel to a "hmm, he doesn't feel quite right today" in the last several weeks or months. But hopping lame? How many of these have you seen?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  13. #13
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    Default

    George Myers in gray

    George - isn't breaching the sole a surgical procedure?

    Any invasion of sensitive tissue is always done at the order of the attending veterinarian!

    Surely it depends on where the abscess originates and the route it takes to get out. If it's sub-solar there may be justification for opening the sole - if the abscess is ready to drain and if you are able to get into it first shot and if you can keep the foot clean.

    A hoof knife is not an exploratory tool and one does not attempt to establish drainage unless the exact location of the abscess has been determined. IME, the inflammation products of sub-solar abscesses often create enough hydraulic pressure to cause a horse to be swinging leg lame (AAEP Grade 5); however, relief is usually immediate after drainage is established and the horse can often be returned to service within 72 hours if the incision site can be protected from environmental pressure. Personally, I think it is both inhumane and unethical to allow a resolved sub-solar abscess to burst out the coronary band.

    But, if it's in the wall, it may be the shortest route is out through the coronet and it never makes it to the sole - so how do you drain it? And alot of abscesses break out through the bulbs not the top of the hoof.

    Compared to sub-solar abscesses, wall abscesses are relatively rare and seldom located without a digital radiograph. IME, most often, an abscess that breaks out of the coronary band is usually the result of an owner's neglect and/or ignorance.

    I had a horse with an abscess in the quarters which some gung ho vets decided to cut out - the damage to the foot and the pain the horse suffered was far worse than allowing the thing to track up and out through the coronet or wherever.

    Are you clairvoyant? If not, you could not possibly know how much damage would have been caused without the surgery.

    As to you 'opining' that the OP wasn't paying attention - that's almost as insulting as it is pompous.

    Reality is often unpalatable, but it's nonetheless reality. Most often, if an abscess bursts out at the coronary band, the horse's connections weren't paying enough attention to their livestock.

    I've seen horses blow abscesses out the toe and heel without having been 'hopping lame' - depends alot on how big it was, how it tracked through the foot and the ground conditions.

    While self-draining abscesses are relatively common in founders/sinkers, they are seldom asymptomatic. An asymptomatic, self-draining, abscess in an otherwise non-pathological hoof is beyond my experience - and, most likely, yours.

    Addendum: IME, while horizontal cracks in the wall can be the result of abscess establishing self-drainage (aka, "blow out"), they are most often the result of trauma to the coronary band that results in localized swelling and a subsequent reduced supply of oxygenated blood to the coronary corium (e.g., treads, dings, etc.). Because horizontal cracks are sometimes accompanied by an open wound or evidence of a wound, one's mistaking the cause for a blow out is quite understandable, especially if the wound has become infected.

    On the other hand, the hydraulic pressure necessary for any abscess to establish self-drainage invariably causes some degree of lameness because the incompressible products of inflammation become trapped in the sensitive tissue between wall, bone, and sole. When this happens, in defiance of gravity and common sense, the line of least resistance is upward, but those fluids don't migrate overnight and their migration is painful; hence the truth to the my comment about a horse's connections not paying enough attention to their livestock when an unnoticed abscess blows out.
    Last edited by Tom Stovall; Feb. 17, 2009 at 10:28 AM. Reason: Added some stuff
    Tom Stovall, CJF
    No me preguntes cualquier preguntas, yo te diré no mentiras.



  14. #14
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    Sounds like an abcsess that came out at the coronet band. It happens, as it usually seeks the path of least resistance. We also often find it in horses who have good sole thickness.

    Your horse should be fine. It will simply grow down the hoof wall. I have seen many cases like this without the horse ever being lame, my own gelding included.



  15. #15
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    BornToRide

    Sounds like an abcsess that came out at the coronet band.


    To a layperson, it might appear an unnoticed abscess burst out the coronary band without manifesting symptoms; it's a common mistake, but not one a professional hoof care provider or even an experienced amateur would ever make.

    It happens, as it usually seeks the path of least resistance. We also often find it in horses who have good sole thickness.

    If by "we" you mean the uneducated and/or the inexperienced, you are quite correct; however, the progression of any abscess capable of establishing self-drainage is seldom pain free. Think! Fluids don't compress, the bone, wall, and sole are relatively impermeable and the only path available for the migration of the fluids attendant to inflammation contains neurons. What do you think happens when these incompressible fluids create pressure on these neurons?

    Have you ever smashed your fingernail with a hammer? After the pain from the initial insult subsided, the pain you felt when your nail turned blue was caused by the hydraulic pressure of fluids between your fingernail and bone that accumulated faster than they could be absorbed by your body. If you established drainage by making an incision through your fingernail, you experienced immediate relief because you relieved the hydraulic pressure; if you waited until either your body absorbed the fluids or your fingernail fell off, you're a helluva lot tougher than I am.

    Your horse should be fine. It will simply grow down the hoof wall. I have seen many cases like this without the horse ever being lame, my own gelding included.

    Since they were asymptomatic, you've obviously seen "many cases" of tread wounds that you mistakenly thought were blow outs. No big deal, it's a common - but telling - mistake.
    Tom Stovall, CJF
    No me preguntes cualquier preguntas, yo te diré no mentiras.



  16. #16
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    Feb. 12, 2009
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    Default

    I have to agree with Mr. Stovall. An abscess seeking drainage will cause noticeable lameness,extreme in most cases. A horizontal crack or wound in the coronary band with little or no lameness would generally be the result of banging,stepping on,cutting,scraping,etc, the coronet. Few exceptions.



  17. #17
    DSears Guest

    Default

    It seems like the coronet may have been injured several months earlier, causing a weak spot that grew down and split under stress on the ride. A gravel would likely have been much narrower. I suppose an abscess could have caused it but how would you know at this point? The solution: ask your blacksmith to look at it...



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bntnail View Post
    I have to agree with Mr. Stovall. An abscess seeking drainage will cause noticeable lameness,extreme in most cases. A horizontal crack or wound in the coronary band with little or no lameness would generally be the result of banging,stepping on,cutting,scraping,etc, the coronet. Few exceptions.

    I have an experienced clientle that I regard as horsemen and horsewomen and not just in attentive pet owners. You know quite often an abscess exits at the coronary band and no one notices a lameness episode. When we do suspect an abscess poulticing followed by exploration is the protocol the vet/farrier teams follow here but I am amazed at how often the horse just takes care of the issue.

    Here's Dr. O'gradys thoughts on poulticing not soaking an abscess to "ripen" it.

    http://www.equipodiatry.com/footsoak.htm

    JB - Dr. O'grady's procudure with a bone curette preserves sole. "digging to china" is not the normal protocol.
    George Spear
    CNBBT, CNBF, CLS
    www.NBhoofcare.com



  19. #19
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    I have no problem with a *vet* doing a little digging to see if the abcess is pretty close, in order to relieve a horse of immense pain. I have no problem with a *vet* digging a deep hole because it's invaded the coffin bone area and needs to come out NOW.

    But my problem comes when JHU said it "should have been drained from the bottom", which implies that 1) it was known where the abcess was, exactly (which is not often the case), and 2) that it doesn't matter how close to the top or bottom of the foot it was.

    If an abcess wants to, and ends up coming out the coronet, that means that "draining it from the bottom" IS digging to China. Now, if it means that has to be done to save the horse's life, then fine, but I'd sure as heck want a VET doing it, not a farrier just because (in JHU's words) "Is no big deal. Used to be taught in any 2 week wonder horseshoeing school."
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  20. #20
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    Happy_Hooves in gray, stuff deleted

    I have an experienced clientle that I regard as horsemen and horsewomen and not just in attentive pet owners.

    You are most fortunate - but expertise in one area does not imply expertise in another.

    You know quite often an abscess exits at the coronary band and no one notices a lameness episode.

    Nossir, I certainly didn't "know" that - and neither does anyone else. I know that injuries to the coronary band are commonplace, that treads, blows, and incised wounds at the coronary band often become infected, and that these infections are often mistaken for an abscess establishing self-drainage.

    Think! If enough hydraulic pressure exists to force the products of inflammation upward through the contiguous lamanae, how could these fluids possibly dodge every neuron in their path? It doesn't happen! If an infection at the coronary band is asymptomatic, it originated at the coronary band.

    Every farrier knows some otherwise knowledgeable horsemen who still call an abscess a "gravel" and are firmly convinced that any infection at the coronary band is indicative of the upward passage of a tiny piece of foreign material through the laminae - but anyone who has ever dissected a hoof knows that can't possibly happen.

    When we do suspect an abscess poulticing followed by exploration is the protocol the vet/farrier teams follow here but I am amazed at how often the horse just takes care of the issue.


    The fluids attendant to infections in the hoof capsule are sometimes absorbed by the horse's body, but when they accumulate faster than they can be absorbed, they create hydraulic pressure and that pressure is magnified by mechanical pressure when the hoof is loaded, which is why abscesses are seldom asymptomatic - and sub-solar abscess that blow out at the coronary band without manifesting symptoms are most often found on horses that have had a neurectomy.

    http://web.wt.net/~stovall/abscess02.htm
    Last edited by Tom Stovall; Feb. 18, 2009 at 08:57 AM. Reason: added URL
    Tom Stovall, CJF
    No me preguntes cualquier preguntas, yo te diré no mentiras.



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