I posted earlier about my mare's possible abscess from a penicillin shot given too low, and my vet (as well as a poster) suggested to hot pack it as much as possible over the next week or so. If that doesn't work, we'll move on to having her out to lance it.
Tonight I tried the ThermaCare back pads tonight and to be honest, I'm not sure it did a whole lot. It was supposed to keep its heat for 8 hours but when I came back about 4 hours later, it was completely cold. Now, I realize that the barn isn't heated so it'll lose its warmth faster, but I was hoping for a little more than what it seemed to give.
So what are your favourite/most effective hot packing "tools"? I even jimmy rigged a hot water bottle to her for a bit while I was there... thankfully, I'm blessed with a very tolerant 2-y-o!
FWIW, the abscess is on her neck. I secured the back pad with two scarves tonight, and it seemed to hold it in place fairly well.
I would probably get a bucket full of very hot water (so hot that you can barely put your hands in it). Add lots of epsom salts and stir. Then, with a med sized towel which is only partially wrung out, apply it to the area and hold it on until it cools off. Repeat until the bucket of water is empty or too cool to do much good.
When hotpacking, IMO, the quality of the heat right on the abscess is what is important, not the length of time that something lukewarm is strapped on with scarves.
If you can spend 20 minutes 2x-3xday applying HOT compresses (as in you need to press the cloth or towel against the skin), that is the best thing you can do.
50/50 Epsom salts to the hottest water they can stand, 2-3 times a day, 20 minutes at a time. Mix the water and salts, rig up a diaper to capture it, top with whatever holds it...polos, duct tape, whatever...babysit it, pull it off...repeat in 6 hrs...I'll top off that warm salty situation with little douses of more warm to hot as they will tolerate...water.