I bought a yearling back in September and had no issues all winter but this spring he's popped four abscesses - first in the right front, then two at the same time in the left front, now one on the hind left. He came from GA to the PNW and I'm thinking the issue is a combination of a pretty drastic change in weather and my sacrifice area footing. It's been very wet and the gravel in my paddocks is getting packed into his feet. The other horse I have here has extremely good feet and I've had no issue with him in the 15 years he's lived here on the same footing but he was bred and born here so hasn't had to acclimate. I pick feet daily and since this started I've been super vigilant about carefully digging anything out of the white line area. It's definitely soft. I've had the vet out and I'm having the farrier back out asap to see how he can help with trimming - the two in the left front and the one in the back left have all happened between trims. I'm so frustrated with this baby and I feel so bad for the little guy.
So here's my plan for now, please let me know if you have any suggestions.
- He's on stall rest for the time being. Fortunately I work from home so I'm picking it out 3+ times a day so it's SUPER clean and dry.
- I'm hand walking 2 times daily.
- Packing with epsom salt/iodine mixture and wrapping it up during the day. Taking the wrap off at night to air and dry out the hoof.
- Normally he has 24 hour access to the grass field and his stall via the sacrifice area. I've gated off the paddock area so when he's done with stall rest I'll walk him around to the field during the day and put him up in the stall at night so that he is not on the gravel at all for the time being.
Any input on this plan or alternate suggestions? I'm also wondering if anyone has come across a topical hoof product or a supplement that might help him develop tougher feet?
We just spent about $3000 re-doing the paddocks last year just before I bought this guy. It's not in the budget at the moment to do anything about them but I'm considering bringing in sand to put over the gravel as soon as I can this summer. Do you think this would help?
Any advice from people who have dealt with this would be greatly appreciated!
Just to note--I'm NOT a professional farrier/trimmer, but I do trim all of our horses--18 of them currently, ranging from foals, broodmares, yearlings, low level show horses, and retired pony.
In my experience, chronic absesses come fromone of two reasons. First, bruises that turn into absesses. Second, absesses that don't fully drain, come back at the same spot, or travel to a weaker part of the hoof to drain. From everything you said, I'm betting your poor guy has terrible bruising that is causing the absesses. I would think covering the gravel with stone dust (aka screenings, bluestone) would be better than sand as far as it would give him some protection from the gravel but be easier than sand to pick up manure and wasted hay.
In the meantime, would it be possible to use hoof boots on him? I know nothing about using boots, so just a thought. Or possibly pack his feet with something like Magic Cushion? I know lots of people have had great success with Durasole. I used it on one horse with chronic bruising and soft soles and it helped A LOT.
I should have mentioned that... I have one hoof boot that I've been using over the vetwrap/duct tape wrap thats holding the Epsom salts in so that he can go out. I just hate to leave him in being a baby. I am leaving him in now because I feel its just necessary at this point to get a handle on this. Once he goes back out I agree, I think I should put him in two boots on the fronts at least to give him a chance to thoroughly heal.
I'll look into stone dust as well, thank you for the suggestion!