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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
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    Winter Park, Florida
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    3,708

    Default Tell me your abcess horror stories

    So one of our rescues, Teddy, a 13 year old OTTB, seems prone to abcesses. When we took him in last fall, in addition to the abcess in his shoulder, which took months to heal, he also had 5 abcesses in his hooves in a 2 month period. All has been good since about February. He has been healed and healthy. We shod him in hopes of getting him sound, no such luck, a lameness evaluation showed bigger issues and he will never be sound at anything other than the walk. So we pulled the shoes in July. Well, we almost immediately started getting alot of rain, we have been quite wet ever since. When the shoes were pulled, he was sore, but instead of getting better, he has gotten progressively worse. When the farrier came last week, I asked him to shoe Teddy if that was what it would take to make him comfortable. He determined shoes were not going to help. He said Teddy has abcesses in both front feet and the worse one is pretty close to the coffin bone. Since last week, Teddy has become more and more lame. He is pretty much non-weight bearing on his bad hoof. The poor guy is just miserable. He doesn't even want to come out of his stall. I am giving him Bute and keeping his legs bandaged for support. Am applying venice turpentine to the soles to try and toughen them. I tried to put icthamol and wrap the hooves, but without shoes on, it really didn't stay put for long. I just ordered the soft cushioned hoof wraps in hopes that he will be more comfortable walking with them on. But I just feel so bad for him! I can't keep giving him Bute everyday for who knows how long. Since misery loves company, please share your really bad abcess stories and any suggestions would be really appreciated!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
    Posts
    17,087

    Default

    Oy, poor Teddy Have you had rads done to see if it's Pedal Osteitis or Osteomyelitis? There's definitely something very wrong going on in there.

    Having gone through abscess he## with my Percheron (oh she of the gigantic hooves), I can honestly say that Gorilla Tape is the only "duct tape" that actually stays put for 48 hours. I soak in hot apple cider vinegar and epsom salt for 20-30 minutes, put the ickymol in the crotch of the diaper and plaster it on the bottom of the hoof so that the ickymol is concentrated towards the heel. Cover all with a roll of vetwrap and then the Gorilla Tape.

    However, I just ordered a Deluxe Equine Slipper from Saddle Up Tack (best price I found), so I'm gonna see how they last over Tank's big ole' feets since she's abscessing in her right front (got sore after her last 3-way vaccine....won't be doing that anymore!).

    You may also want to try Hoof Wraps and the gel pads that come separate. They're very tough with uber-strong velcro so they stay on.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2009
    Posts
    1,683

    Default

    Good luck with Teddy! I hope he gets better soon!

    Not my horse, but a horse at the barn where I board recently abscessed BAD. She was hobbling around in the far back pasture...took forever for the farrier to get her up to the barn, I think she fell twice on the way. He poked around but said it was really bad and she would have no hoof left if he did anything to it. Next day the horse is holding that foot, won't put any weight on it. Started laying down for hours, wouldn't get up, wouldn't eat. Both of her front legs got really swollen so I did liniment and wrapped them. They have been soaking and wrapping it everyday. X-rays showed it was huge and high, near coronary band, vet said it was the worst she'd ever seen.

    Well it finally ruptured. Out of her coronary band. Nasty oozy white junk spilling out up there. But it's magic, she can walk now! Swelling in legs is really clearing up too. Not sure how long until she will be healed and sound to ride...but she's on the road to recovery



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2007
    Location
    Jersey girl!
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    1,298

    Default

    Lets see.... I am in my own abcess nightmare and I love sharing!

    My horse started going off in June of last year, after soaking and wrapping for 2 weeks, he got much much worse, and a few days later he blew out the entire one half of his hoof wall. Farrier came out and we resected 45% of the hoof wall. After almost a year of none weight bearing, the hoof finally grew out, but we were still unsound. I put shoes back on him and he is much better. So I start bringing him back to work. 10 days into training and he starts to look funky. He is not landing right on the right front. I am thinking he needs more heel support and his shoulder is out from limping for a year. Farrier comes out, we give him more support, but he is still not right. I am starting to get concerned with laminitis. I have the chiropractor out the next day for an adjustment. She does alot of adjusting and the shoulder is out, but he is not any better. She tells me all indications point to the foot. (Great!) So I call my vet for a lameness exam and x-rays. She also hoof tests him (no response), we block the heel of the foot. We is not only not any better, he is worse! So we block the rest of the foot... a little awkward, but finally we see a huge inprovement. X-rays reveal a huge abcess in the exact same spot as the resection from last year. They also reveal some inconsistency on the coffin bone in the foot. Fearing an infection is eating at the bone, we do an intense regimen of antibiotics for 3 weeks. I have the farrier come back out, to remove the abcess, which creates a tunnel from midway up the foot through the sole of his hoof. And I get the privilege of cleaning out daily,treating with betadine and stuffing with cotton balls. All we can do now is wait for the hoof to grow out. Not too bad you think right? Except the big lovable jerk (with his newly adjusted back) keeps pulling off his dang shoes every 3 freaking days! Thank the lord, my farrier is such a wonderful guy and doesn't charge me to keep putting them back on. Of course this constant pulling of the shoes has caused the hoof wall on the oustide of the tunneled hoof to collapse and breakaway. So now we are back to being gimpy. Its going to be atleast another 2 months before it has grown out. So I have been horse less and not really riding since June 08.
    Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, Florida
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    3,708

    Default

    The slipper is what I just ordered for him.
    If this damn thing doesn't pop soon or he get relief soon, I will have the vet out. The last abcess came out through the coronary band but it wasn't this bad. Thanks for the suggestions on keeping ichthamol on, will give it a try tonight.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoMare View Post
    Oy, poor Teddy Have you had rads done to see if it's Pedal Osteitis or Osteomyelitis? There's definitely something very wrong going on in there.

    Having gone through abscess he## with my Percheron (oh she of the gigantic hooves), I can honestly say that Gorilla Tape is the only "duct tape" that actually stays put for 48 hours. I soak in hot apple cider vinegar and epsom salt for 20-30 minutes, put the ickymol in the crotch of the diaper and plaster it on the bottom of the hoof so that the ickymol is concentrated towards the heel. Cover all with a roll of vetwrap and then the Gorilla Tape.

    However, I just ordered a Deluxe Equine Slipper from Saddle Up Tack (best price I found), so I'm gonna see how they last over Tank's big ole' feets since she's abscessing in her right front (got sore after her last 3-way vaccine....won't be doing that anymore!).

    You may also want to try Hoof Wraps and the gel pads that come separate. They're very tough with uber-strong velcro so they stay on.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 20, 2008
    Posts
    647

    Default

    My poor guy has had a terrible time with his feet abscessing. In Feb. he had abscesses in BOTH hind feet. He blew one out one hoof and two out of the other. It took about two weeks to get them to blow that time.

    About a month ago he blew a HUGE one out of his band. That one took four weeks to blow. It was terrible.

    Abscess are the worst.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2008
    Posts
    1,068

    Default

    Check out the blog http://www.behindthebitblog.com/ for an abcess horror story which led to surgery and per the latest updated a possible second round of surgery. The poor author - what a nightmare.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2003
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    663

    Default

    I don't think you really want to hear the abscess "horror" stories, really, do you? I have one that actually IS a horror. The horse had to be euthanized. I had a lovely older Arab gentleman, in every sense of the word. He developed Cushings disease and although he was on Pergolide and other supplements and strict diet, etc., he was mildly laminitic. He was also prone to infection, and an abscess in his foot went septic and invaded the coffin bone, he suffered through hoof resection and incredible pain, but foundered in that hoof, rotated to 30 degrees and we decided the poor creature had suffered enough. Worst year, month, and day of my life. Poor fellow. Abscessing is often look upon as just a fleeting problem, although painful for the horse. In this particular case, it led to his death and it was very sad.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    629

    Default

    One of my horses had an abscess. We were soaking, packing, did x-rays and everything. After a week, we noticed a bit of swelling in the same leg. We took him to tufts, and he ended up having to have surgery, and stayed there a week. He has a cast right now on (it'll be two weeks on Tuesday since the surgery). Either next week or the following he'll have a hospital plate put on. Needless to say, we still have a long road of recovery ahead of us.
    ~Jet Lag~
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    ~Calypso Bob~



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    1,827

    Default I'm in abcess hell, too

    I'm on week 5 or so.

    Mare came up 3 legged, I figured "abcess" and treated accordingly (soak, poultice/ichthamol, wrap, rinse repeat) to try and draw it out. In fact, my farrier came out the next day and found where she was sore, but no 'tract' and he didn't do much digging/carving.

    She didn't get better in 10 days, so I called the vet. Vet found the tract, opened it up, lots of pus/goo came out.

    Mare should have IMMEDIATELY felt better. But she was still VERY lame/sore.

    Fast forward to now. We did multiple x-rays, nothing really showed up...nice, clean xrays. She dug/carved a tiny bit more to see if there was a little pocket that needed help opening.

    We have her in Soft Ride boots now (expensive, but nice to help keep hoof bottom clean and comfortable) She is STILL LAME.

    Vet can't see anything that would be making her 'still sore' Usually, they get immediate relief when abcess bursts/drains.

    UGH...............
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    www.elainehickman.com
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, Florida
    Posts
    3,708

    Default

    Thanks for the stories...at least I know that I am not alone! I will probably call my vet tomorrow and see if he can come on Saturday..good thing we are getting bids on items on the www.specialhorses.org auction!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, Florida
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    3,708

    Default

    Well, poor Teddy tonight was standing in the classic "founder stance". My vet said it could be the abcess, or he could be foundering. I left a message for my farrier. If Teddy isn't better in 72 hours, my vet will come xray him. He is in so much agony, I just want to cry. He cannot bear weight on the left front hoof. I left him inside tonight rather than subject him to the horrible pain of walking on the concrete. I left his chain down while I turned everyone else out, but he chose to stay in. He didn't even call to Imp, his pasturemate who he is attached to deeply (typical mare, she could care less about him!). I brought the mini-girls in to keep him company. My vet said to soak him and then wrap him with poultice and epsom salts mixed together. I also gave him banamine tonight to hopefully give him some relief.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, Florida
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    Default

    So things just aren't looking good for Teddy. My cranio-sacral guy came today and worked on Teddy. I also spoke to my farrier. Both told me what I already know but needed to hear. It isn't fair to keep him in so much pain. Every morning, I come to the barn with my stomach in knots, I am so afraid he will be dead. He nickers and eats, but his eyes tell me the truth. My farrier said that if he isn't improving in a few more days, I need to make a decision. And when I unwrapped his standing wraps today, his tendons are showing signs of stress...it is just a matter of time before that can of worms gets opened. So I am going to keep him comfortable for a little longer, talk it over with my vet and pray like hell.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    16,564

    Default

    What a sad story. Sorry to hear it. You have done all you could have for him. Good luck.

    My yearling is an accident on hooves and 3-1/2 weeks after he was born he got gravel in his foot and an infected coffin bone. Thank goodness for an excellent vet, successful surgery and helpful husband who held him while I changed bandages for six weeks while the hole healed over.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2005
    Location
    North East, MD
    Posts
    4,356

    Default

    Horses who have suffered founder often abscess about six weeks later. That makes people want to give up, until the abscess clears.

    My horror story is over 20 years old, but I had a mare who foundered 3 times in one summer before we got it under control. She then abscessed at the coronet, and the hole was large enough to put my thumb into. Then the hoof peeled away from that point back to the heel. She lost nearly half her hoof. Easyboots were new on the market, but my vet said not to try them.

    So I wrapped her hoof daily for six months until she grew a new wall. We used Ichtamol, cotton, gauze, vet wrap (I think it was available back then), and duct tape to keep her going. She was okay for turnout. Her hoof grew in with a permanent crack from the scar in her coronet. She lived another 12 years or so until she had a stroke. She never foundered or went laminitic again, since I took care of her diet--even though we thought protein was the culprit rather than sugar.

    Now I'd use baby diapers for wraps, and inner tubes for soaking continuously in ice rather than 4 times daily using buckets. Other than that, I wouldn't change the treatment protocol. The vet saved her life, and it was worth the work to get her through the hoof regrowth. I had that mare for 22 years. But, had she refoundered one more time, I planned to put her down. As much as I loved her, I couldn't see letting her go thruogh that again. It was horrible.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2008
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
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    4,579

    Default

    One thing that may work instead of Bute is Devil's Claw. I believe it's an herb but it is not as hard on the tummy as Bute if you have to give it too long.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2008
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    75

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoMare View Post
    However, I just ordered a Deluxe Equine Slipper from Saddle Up Tack (best price I found), so I'm gonna see how they last over Tank's big ole' feets since she's abscessing in her right front (got sore after her last 3-way vaccine....won't be doing that anymore!).
    My foundered mare practically LIVED in Deluxe Equine Slippers after she foundered 5.5 yrs ago ... she had bad bad abscessing. I used an earlier version of Happy Hoof Pads (also available from Susan Young at Saddle Up Tack) in the slippers ... so much easier than duct taping the pads to the hoof!! You can also cut pads from 2'x2' interlocking rubber mats (you can buy them in pacs at Sam's Club, WalMart, Lowes, etc) ... put the pad in the slipper, and MUCH more comfortable.

    I controlled the moisture level of the hoof by using disposable diapers ... the gel beads pull moisture from the hoof. They are fantastic if you're doing the twice daily soakings. Her foot never got funky.

    I duct taped the leather sole of the slipper, also encircled where the sole joined the cordura upper, and turned her out in the pasture. If it was wet and muddy, or snowy, I extended the duct tape up the cordura. I always encircled the velcro top with duct tape, just in case.

    I had four slippers ... two to wear, two drying for the next time. I never threw them in the washing machine ... always used a hose to clean them. I still have the original four slippers ... they are very much the "well used" but STILL useable.

    The pads made her able to shuffle round when abscessing ... movement promotes blood flow and helps mobilize the pockets of necrotic gunk that are part of the rehab process after founder. (When the inflamed laminae die, this necrotic gunk has to be expelled from the hoof eventually).

    Happy Hoof Pads have in their product line a special density foam pads that you can stand them on while working on their feet ... invaluable when they are so sore. Till these arrived I used gardener's kneeling pads ... not as good, but a big help. Brand I found best was Arden's Kneeling pads from WalMart's Garden Center. And when abscessing is at it's worst, you can cut pads from these kneeling pads ... VERY soft, will have to be replaced twice a day because they squish down, but hey, whatever helps.

    Smart Boot was great for soaking ... one size fits all, and there's a base pad that will withstand shoes - tho my mare was rehabbed barefooted. http://millerharness.com/SmartBoot+S.../p/Y4-TG04537/



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2006
    Posts
    1,540

    Default Donkey beat me to it

    Hi Donkey, you beat me to it! Yep, I've blogged about my "summer of unsoundess" and after taking him to a top clinic in the country for very invasive surgery through the sole, they are making noises about a second surgery to take hoof wall. It is nothing short of a nightare and I am ready for some serious valium.

    The symptoms were abscess-like but it seems it was asceptic, not an infection. My horse has been on stall rest since July and after the surgery I told myself to "hang in there" till November when he was supposed to be on limited turnout. The second surgery may shatter that timeline.

    More than anything my heart breaks for my 3 year old who is reasonably comfortable but stuck in a stall 23 hours a day. I feel I HAVE to see him daily, it's like having an invalid aunt who appreciates your visits.

    People tend to be unconcerned about abscesses, but they CAN BE serious. In my opinion, any abscess that goes on for more than 5 days w/no telltale signs of "blowing" merits an x-ray.
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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2008
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    75

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lori T View Post
    So one of our rescues, Teddy, a 13 year old OTTB, seems prone to abcesses. When we took him in last fall, in addition to the abcess in his shoulder, which took months to heal, he also had 5 abcesses in his hooves in a 2 month period. All has been good since about February. He has been healed and healthy. We shod him in hopes of getting him sound, no such luck, a lameness evaluation showed bigger issues and he will never be sound at anything other than the walk. So we pulled the shoes in July. Well, we almost immediately started getting alot of rain, we have been quite wet ever since. When the shoes were pulled, he was sore, but instead of getting better, he has gotten progressively worse. When the farrier came last week, I asked him to shoe Teddy if that was what it would take to make him comfortable. He determined shoes were not going to help. He said Teddy has abcesses in both front feet and the worse one is pretty close to the coffin bone. Since last week, Teddy has become more and more lame. He is pretty much non-weight bearing on his bad hoof. The poor guy is just miserable. He doesn't even want to come out of his stall. I am giving him Bute and keeping his legs bandaged for support. Am applying venice turpentine to the soles to try and toughen them. I tried to put icthamol and wrap the hooves, but without shoes on, it really didn't stay put for long. I just ordered the soft cushioned hoof wraps in hopes that he will be more comfortable walking with them on. But I just feel so bad for him! I can't keep giving him Bute everyday for who knows how long. Since misery loves company, please share your really bad abcess stories and any suggestions would be really appreciated!
    Put foam rubber pads in the hoof wraps (see post #18)... these will keep Teddy more comfortable. My mare was in much worse pain with her abscesses than the original laminitis. Eventually they WILL vent. Her first abscessing episode vented around the coronary band. Her second (and worst) go-round with abscesses ended up draining through a defect in the sole and around the white line. (This "defect" was where we belive the coffin bone had started to push through the corium before protocol was changed, heels lowered and toes backed up and we began the process of repositioning the very rotated CB). Eventually (as her false sole grew out and was able to be flaked off) we saw the a "line of demarkation" where almost her entire sole area had had the grey liquid gunk that finally drained out. It took two months of HELL before it drained. Pix can be seen under AMEERA NABORRA in the PHOTOS section of http://groups.yahoo.com/group/equine-founder/

    Dr Kellon (Cushings list) and the people I worked with when rehabbing my mare, all believe that Bute slows the progression of abscesses venting. There were times I had to give her Bute, to keep her eating/drinking, usually just a day or two before the abscesses vented, as pressure built up really badly inside the foot. The rest of the time, rubber pads in her slippers kept her comfortable enough to shuffle round. And the shuffling round was important for circulation and continuing to mobilize the abscesses

    They told me that with some abscessing episodes, there will be several days that are really bad, then the horse will be a little more comfortable, then bad again, over and over. This is caused by the abscess advancing a little in it's track to vent. Pressure builds and builds and finally the gunk finds a weak spot to advance into, giving a LITTLE relief. Then the pressure builds and the same thing happens all over again.

    Have a really interesting picture of an abscess track in her sole, but I can't post pics.

    You might want to joining the Equine Cushings list and research Jiaogulan ("the J-herb") in their FILES section. Years ago Dr Kellon did an article for Horse Journal on LaminaSaver. She eventually determined that the main herb in this was Jioagulan, which is available very cheaply from www.herbalcom.com It's supposed to promote circulation. Believe I read it can help mobilize abscesses ... people sometimes say they wonder if it "causes" abscesses but actually the improved circulation just helps them progress. Wonder if this might help Teddy? From memory, they don't recommend starting the J-Herb if the horse is still on Bute ... but it's been five years since I read any of this, so they might have changed recommendations in the meantime. Here's a link to the Cushings list: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/EquineCushings/



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2006
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    369

    Default

    Has anyone ever heard of this mixture for treating an abscess:

    1 Cup Ice Tight or other mud based poultice
    1/3 cup Icthammol
    2 TBS Epsom Salt
    1 TSP Alum pickling spice

    Mix it all together, pack the foot, wrap, and replace every 24 hours?



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