first off, the vet was already out last weekend, and let me also say that i have spent literally thousands on my horse in the past 11 months, trying to figure out what is going on with her, and i'm just stressed out to the max and could really use some other eyes.
background-she's 18 and i retired her this june after 6 months of off and on again lameness. she blocked out sound at the fetlock and she has some arthritic changes in the LF ankle. we had been injecting her since about last october, every couple months, plus she was on adequan. this june she came up lame at the walk-again blocked out at ankle, xrays showed more degeneration, and i said enough is enough and moved her to a retirement farm. she's out 24/7 in nice flat grassy fields with 3 other quiet horses. she has limped at the walk ever since-daily bute and previcox made no impact so we stopped it. may be mechanical at this point, as the joint is changing shape, probably due to the body laying down new bone.
she eats great, is happy to see me, gets around just fine with her friends, stands fine for the trimmer. euthanasia is NOT an option at this point.
last weekend when i was cleaning her feet out the metal part of the hoof pick slid right into the flesh by her heel bulb on the LF and she jerked her foot away. it dripped blood for a few moments, but i couldn't express anything else. BO and i decided it was an abscess and i soaked her foot, syringed peroxide up it, and put some ichthamol on it. sunday when i soaked her foot, i noticed that there was some crust above the heel bulb, at the coronary band, picked it off, and saw what appeared to be bloody/pus-y proud flesh down inside a crack at the top of the hoof (see pics below). it looked really gross, and combined with the blood pocket on saturday i decided to just have the vet out. she looked at it, said it was just an abscess that had probably been brewing for a while and blown out on both sides, and just to keep it dry/put some wonder dust or whatever on it. she said she may be prone to getting them right there, in the cleft between the 2 heel bulbs, bc of how she is walking now to compensate for the ankle, and that i will have to be diligent about keeping it dry, putting drying agents up there, etc.
yesterday it just looked gross to me. there are 3 separate "cuts," for want of a better word, on the heel bulb that when pulled back, expose proud flesh along with pink/bloody flesh. the hole heel bulb area is soft, and my horse doesn't want me messing with it. she also seems more sore on the foot in general; for example, it took some cajoling for her to weight it entirely so i could clean the other one, which is not normal for her.
tl;dr: can you please just look at the pictures and tell me if you've seen anything like this before, or if you think i should get a second opinion, or if i'm just freaking out since i've been through so much with her in the last year? i've had her 8 years and she's never had an abscess before. i'd appreciate any input. i love my vet, but if needed i can get a second opinion. i'm also trying to get the trimmer to come out this week to see what he thinks. thanks in advance...
My horse once blew out his entire left hind heel bulb and half of his frog with an abscess. It looked really gross (much worse than your mare!) but it healed just fine. He was never actually lame on it, even before it burst.
I would do a short daily soak with epsom salt water to keep drawing out the infection, wipe dry and put the product of your choice on it. You probably already know you want that abscess to heal from the inside out and if it scabs over/walls over before it's healed it will abscess again.
A girlfriends mare had a heel bulb abscess this past spring that made her dead lame. When the abscess tracks finally broke open she had 4 tracks open on her heel bulb area. Wicked mess.
Yep, looks like a normal abcess. Is putting a boot on the foot possible with her situation? Doesn't have to be anything fancy, just diaper, vetwrap and duct tape. Re-do the boot every couple of days, soaking and cleaning the foot when you re-do the boot. If you can keep it clean it will heal faster, but you don't want to soak the foot too much or you risk other problems.
It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
thank you so much for your replies. you definitely all made me feel a lot better. we've been keeping it clean, syringing peroxide up the hole, and then putting wonder dust in it to keep it dry. i just feel so bad for her; she's had a rough year. thanks again!!!!
My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE