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Abscess: draining, do I worry about keeping it clean?

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  • Abscess: draining, do I worry about keeping it clean?

    I've trawled COTH and despite all the abscess threads, I can't find an answer to this question.

    My question is this - how worried should I be about keeping the opening clean at this point? My vet found and opened an abscess in my gelding's left hind, right at the toe. The horse has found immediate relief and is walking sound, and is happy to rest his weight on that leg. I'm doing the epsom soak 2x day routine, and have applied animalintex over the small opening, and then festooned the hoof in duct tape. When I cleaned the hoof this morning and tonight, I could see that the abscess is still draining.

    If I keep him in his stall, the duct tape stays intact. I turned him out tonight, and am hoping the tape survives the night, but I'm not optimistic.

    So, I can either keep him in, and keep the foot pristine, or turn him out and let him move, with likelihood that the tape won't survive turnout and the opening will get dirty.

    WWYD? Am I over-thinking? (That would be par for the course.)
    Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

    Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs

  • #2
    I would keep him in if it is not a problem. What did your vet say to do ?


    • #3
      Keep him in! I had one absess go bad because I turned the filly out and the duct tape came off. It has turned into a 6 month ordeal with hoof resectioning, special shoes, stall rest ect. Believe me, better safe than sorry!

      "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


      • #4
        my question is how is it supposed to drain properly if you are putting duct tape over it? to me that would keep it there.

        whenever my horses had an abscess i was told just to do frequent epsom salt soakings and it would be fine.


        • #5
          Originally posted by my_doran View Post
          my question is how is it supposed to drain properly if you are putting duct tape over it?
          Because she is putting the animal lintex poultice pad on the drainage hole.

          Unless you could fit a boot over the whole thing, I would also keep her inside.


          • #6
            You want to keep the opening "open" because an abscess is like a puncture wound so it needs to heal from the inside out. If the opening "walls over" it can fester and become a problem again. Without seeing the depth of the abscess it's hard to say when it's okay to turn the horse out with or without protection over the opening.

            If the duct tape boot came off overnight it's not the end of the world. Just soak the hoof again (I always flush with a betadine & water solution as a final rinse) and rewrap it.


            • Original Poster

              Happily, the tape survived the night. I'm using SumoTape, which i got at Home Depot. It's supposed to be tougher than duct tape, and I would say that it is.

              At night he can go out sans his playful paddock mate, which gives the tape a chance of holding, since my guy isn't the run-around-like-a-nut type. I think we'll do this for the next few days.

              Thanks all for your feedback!
              Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

              Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


              • #8
                When we have opened an abcess, we have always filled
                the hole with cotton soaked in iodine stuffed into the
                hole before bandaging. It allows drainage without any
                foreign matter getting up into the sensitive area.
                Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                Elmwood, Wisconsin


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                  When we have opened an abcess, we have always filled
                  the hole with cotton soaked in iodine stuffed into the
                  hole before bandaging. It allows drainage without any
                  foreign matter getting up into the sensitive area.
                  This, but I use triple antibiotic instead of iodine - it sticks better and still prevents infection. You can use a hoof pick to really wedge it in there, and if your pastures are dry and the hole in the hoof isn't too big, it'll actually stay in there without anything over it.
                  RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                  • #10
                    Timely question...although my 2 mares currently have 3 abscesses between them, and all popped through and are draining at the coronet. Sigh. 10 years with one mare, never an abscess problem, now this....

                    With not-too-mucky footing, I've found the following to stay on approximately 24 hours:

                    Wrap in small diaper, with damp Animalintex placed wherever you need it against the hoof (or in my case, at the coronet). Wrap in Vetrap. Wrap bottom of hoof, especially at toe, with duct tape.

                    If they go swimming in the water trough and thereby lose the aforementioned contraption, then sigh and resign oneself to supervised 2x/day Epsom soaks. In a Davis boot as mare doesn't stand in a bucket, TYVM.
                    Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


                    • #11
                      I had a Shetland who had to step on a nail in a thrown shoe from one of the other horses out in the back pasture. Out of the 2 acres he had to run in, he had to step on the one shoe the mare had tossed. The vet had to cut out the hole in his foot and drain it. We packed it with four 4 inch gauze pads and duct taped his foot. I had to change it out every other day until it healed. Sounds like you are doing it right. I had to give him shots every morning and evening and that was the bad part. He just saw the hypo and went up the stall wall.
                      But it finally healed and all was well.
                      Sounds like you are doing it right. It will heal eventually. Just keep it up and it will come out OK.
                      regards, sadlmakr


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                        When we have opened an abcess, we have always filled
                        the hole with cotton soaked in iodine stuffed into the
                        hole before bandaging. It allows drainage without any
                        foreign matter getting up into the sensitive area.
                        Same here.

                        Unless there is actve MUD (or the cotton won't stay in), my vet says not to bother with taping it. The cotton keeps the dirt out.

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                        • Original Poster

                          Here's what my vet said ...

                          In my horse's case, the opening is pretty small. It's little better than a hairline fissure. I was lucky, this was a small abscess.

                          She says to basically keep it as clean as I can. Clean it, and wrap it up, and if he loses the tape and pad covering it, just soak it thoroughly and wrap it up again. As long as he's sound he can go out.

                          His paddock was a sea of mud last week but has dried out nicely.
                          Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                          Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


                          • Original Poster

                            oh, and the won't stand in a bucket problem?

                            Here's my solution. Get two rubber ground feeders.

                            In one, mix your soaking solution.

                            In the other place something delicious that will hold the critter's attention.

                            Place the each at the appropriate end of the horse, et voila.

                            Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                            Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                              When we have opened an abcess, we have always filled
                              the hole with cotton soaked in iodine stuffed into the
                              hole before bandaging. It allows drainage without any
                              foreign matter getting up into the sensitive area.
                              The cotton is flexible enough so you can force it into a small opening and it stays put.
                              Plus soaking it in iodine/betadine keeps the draining area clean.
                              As the opening heals - from the inside - you wil notice the amount of cotton you need to use gets smaller & smaller
                              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                              • #16
                                My little trick for soaking is to buy a clear plastic houseplant,,errr container...Im not sure the word for it, anyways they sell them at Lowes, homedepot and walmart. They have varying sizes, I get the 12 inch ones that are about 6 inches deep, cost around 3 bucks...

                                They works so well for soaking because they are clear and my horses dont mind them as much.
                                Or you could get your vets old IV bags, they work well too, but those can be hard to come by.


                                • #17
                                  With the wettest September on record in MD- we've been having our fair share of abscesses. My Lusitano mare popped one a couple of days ago that blew out through the sole up near the toe. I soaked it with hot water and epsom salts, than packed the hole with betadine soaked cotton, put a diaper on on it, then wrapped it lightly in vet wrap- then put a davis soaking boot over it and out in the field she goes. I'll repeat the wrapping and booting daily until it fills in enough or drys up enough in the field.

                                  PS- I get the Davis boots in a size or two bigger than the horse's hooves that way the diaper and wrap will fit in the boot
                                  "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                                  So you might as well have a good time"