Chronic abscesses - need winter/turnout suggestions
For those of you who have gone through chronic abscess issues, I would greatly appreciate your suggestions for how to get through winter abscess-free and whether or not you turnout when it's muddy outside.
Will try to keep this short. Had chronic abscess issues with my new OTTB last winter from Nov 2011 to June 2012. Front hooves grow very forward with thin soles. Apart from poor hoof conformation, vets don't believe there are other health or diet concerns. I have gone through 3 farriers. My current farrier is doing an amazing job. Until now, zero issues since he's being shoeing my horse. I have used hoof hardener Durasole 2x per week since June.
Horse kept in a very clean stall with turnout 2 half-days during week. I can also turnout on weekends. My stable's turnouts are a muddy mess right now since we've had a lot of rain & some snow. Winter & muddy conditions in turnout seem to be the common factor to for bringing on abscesses for my guy.
Any tips for getting through winter abscess-free? Do you stop turning out when it is muddy (as a preventative measure even before an abscess occurs) or do you find it doesn't make a difference one way or the other? Thanks in advance for your help.
I was really hoping to make it through 2012 without any more issues. So close!
. . . My current farrier is doing an amazing job. Until now, zero issues since he's being shoeing my horse. I have used hoof hardener Durasole 2x per week since June. . .
Stick with this and you should be fine. Abscesses need a place to get started. Most often that place is somewhere on the perimeter of the wall or bars where there is some separation that gets packed with dirt. The smallest spec of dirt that eventually penetrates the barrier of the hoof capsule is all that it takes to start the abscess process.
Attention to detail in trimming, keeping flares and distortion under control, making sure the bars are not compacted or folding over, and keeping on a schedule tailored to the horse's needs instead of some arbitrary time frame dictated by "what works for other horses" is the best prevention.
Applying Durasole to the white line and lamina of the bars immediately after the feet are trimmed BEFORE nailing on the shoes is a significant preemptive measure. Then followup with regular application, making sure that the Durasole actually runs up under the shoe. The best time to apply Durasole for maintenance is when the feet have been dried out from standing in a well bedded stall for several hours (assuming you picked the mud out of the horse's feet before putting it in the stall). If the feet are wet, then the horn cells can't absorb Durasole - especially under the shoe where you can't clean with your hoof pick.
A good farrier really is worth their weight in gold when you have a crappy footed horse. I know my farrier makes all the difference for my big quarter gelding. I also think I used every hoof supplement under the sun, but really only saw much improvement when I started using Dumor hoof.
I would offer tho in addition to what Tom has already said to avoid turn out immediately following a freeze. Wet soft soles and hard frozen chunky ground are a bad combo. Even with a shoe bruising can occur.
No advice as I haven't experienced it personally, but one of my good friends had a sure-footed Morgan that suddenly started abscessing constantly. She was able to "manage" it with shoes and such, as the replies have stated, but it was a real bear.
Turns out it was the sandy soil in the area. She had moved him from the NE to MN where there is very sandy soil, and he started abscessing a few months after moving there. She subsequently moved to MI a couple years later where there was little sand, and he hasn't abscessed since.
One of mine abscessed chronically for about a year (after never having done so before). Essentially, her hoof wall was never really "healing", i.e. when the abscessed part grew down, even though it *looked* totally trimmed off, there were still some tracts that extended upwards and would abscess again. This was only found by the vet after really digging into her hoof wall. Mare ended up having standing surgery to remove about 1/3 of the hoof wall on her outer quarter. It took about 6 months to grow all the way back down, and she's good as new and hasn't abscessed since.
Applying Durasole to the white line and lamina of the bars immediately after the feet are trimmed BEFORE nailing on the shoes is a significant preemptive measure. Then followup with regular application, making sure that the Durasole actually runs up under the shoe.
Thanks Tom B for the excellent advice and I will definitely try this ^ from now on.
As for outdoor turnouts where I board (and after conferring with my farrier), I plan to keep my horse out of the mud until the abscess is completely healed and will reassess from there. It's definitely not the ideal situation, but I plan to give him as much turnout time as I can in the indoor arena when it's empty. Will get back into a steady riding/lunging routine once he is sound again. After losing most of last winter & spring with my guy, limited indoor turnout with regular exercise still seems like a huge improvement over stall rest & hand-walking any day to prevent more issues this wet season. I hope this along with good, regular trimmings and Durasole use will stop the abscess cycle.
Morganpony, I often speculate that climate change has had an impact on his hooves. He raced in California for several years and I bought him from Arizona, so winters in the Rockies must be quite an adjustment from a moisture perspective.
My gelding is the opposite: mud doesn't bother, but right now we have lumpy frozen ground with hardly any snow covering (although today's winter weather should rememdy this soon enough...).
Last winter we went a while with no snow, and he kept abscessing on his hinds. Once the hard frozen lumpy ground was covered in snow, he was fine. I never did anything, just kept an eye on him and let them run their course. All of them blew out the heel eventually. I haven't had a problem yet this winter... *knock on wood*
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