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Lame horse- any ideas?

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  • Lame horse- any ideas?

    So first off, the vet appointment has been made, but in the meantime I'm just looking for some advice. (Sorry for the long post)

    I just moved my horse two weeks ago about 200 miles. 5 y/o QH mare. She's fitting in at the new barn and loves her automatic waterer. Rode her once after a week so she had time to settle in. So about a week and a half in she turns up super lame in the right foreleg. I've never had a horse turn up lame before, so this is new territory for me. Unfortunately it's Labor Day Weekend and all vets are gone unless it's an emergency. Honestly to me, I don't see this as an emergency as she's pretty much on stall rest, and turned out by herself in a small dry lot pen where she can't pick up much of a trot(so she can meet her new pasture mates over the fence). She moves around fine in her stall which has stall mats, but when pulled out onto the concrete barn aisle takes small, short steps, lowers her head and excerts pain like symptoms. Also she'll pace without any issues in her pen outside(on soft sand/dirt) and doesn't seem to be having pain. Everyone I ask suggests it's an abscess but I poke with a hoofpick and can't find it, but I also don't have a hoof tester to really figure out if she has one or not. This horse is barefoot and has never been shod, and the farriers always comment on how amazing her feet are. She was last trimmed approximately 3.5 weeks ago. So horse hasen't gotten any better with rest(and hand walking in the indoor). So vet appnt is for Fri morning(Yes I know thats in 2 days out BUT I just moved here, I don't know anyone, I'm in nursing orientation at work, and the vet laughed at me when I asked if they could come out after 5pm). So anything I could try before then? Thanks everybody!

  • #2
    I'm no vet, but I think your friends are correct - it sounds like an abscess. It's possible for it to be high in the hoof or not in an area affected by poking about with a hoofpick (coronary band area, side hoof, etc.)

    Sliding your hand slowly around her hoof, does any area of the hoof feel warmer than the rest? Does she have a strong digital pulse in either of her front feet?

    Some people will say do nothing and let it blow on its own (days to weeks), some will say to be more proactive and try to hasten the blowout. Since you don't have a 100% diagnosis and aren't familiar with recognizing an abscessed hoof, I'd probably say wait, but keep an eye on it. If she were mine, I'd probably leave her out in the dry lot where she can walk around a bit to hasten the blowout, but put her in if she's very uncomfortable.

    If you search out here, there's a ton of threads on abscesses and what people do/have done/have suffered through...

    Good luck. Hopefully this will resolve itself quickly and without too much trouble.



    • #3
      make sure you get digital (or regular) radiographs if you can't find an abscess. Could be a fractured coffin or navicular bone. I've always been told that acute, severe lamenesses without heat/swelling/etc in the leg (so therefore in the hoof somewhere) are almost always 1 of 2 things: abscess or fracture.


      • #4
        Agree, a hoofpick will not necessarily tell you anything. You could soak the hoof 1 or 2x a day with warm water, epsom salts. May hasten the blowout if it's an abscess, won't hurt if not.
        The big man -- my lost prince

        The little brother, now my main man


        • #5
          Originally posted by asterix View Post
          Agree, a hoofpick will not necessarily tell you anything. You could soak the hoof 1 or 2x a day with warm water, epsom salts. May hasten the blowout if it's an abscess, won't hurt if not.
          I have my clients begin soaking until I can get there with hoof testers. If it is an abscess it is helpfull. If it is not it wont hurt.
          George Spear
          CNBBT, CNBF, CLS


          • #6
            Originally posted by asterix View Post
            Agree, a hoofpick will not necessarily tell you anything. You could soak the hoof 1 or 2x a day with warm water, epsom salts. May hasten the blowout if it's an abscess, won't hurt if not.
            That's just what I was going to suggest as well, until the vet can get out in a couple of days.

            If it gets worse, I would have the vet out earlier, and just ask for one of the barn staff to bring your horse out and hold her for the vet if you can't make it because of work. They should do that if you ask, even if it means tacking on a small handling fee to your board bill for the month.