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Soft, splitting heel into bulb? With pic

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  • Soft, splitting heel into bulb? With pic

    So today I went out to see my horse. He had obviously playing in the pond at one point as he was a bit muddy on his fetlocks. Did a bit of cleaning, tacked him up, and went for a ride. Doing some serpentines, I noticed that he was getting a bit off balance during the turning stages and would slow down. Not normal but I pinned it on laziness and not being worked in a few days. No problem with anything else.

    After riding, I hosed him down and sprayed all the mud off his legs. I bent down to scrub a bit on his hind feet with the white socks on them and noticed a bit of fungus nestled in there. Joy. But then I noticed something else and (of course) immediately took out my phone to take some photos to post here!

    View 1
    View 2

    It is not on any of his other feet, just his RH...the one with the sock
    RF,LF, LH

    It is very soft, doesnt seem tender to the touch, but it worries me that it is up into his bulb! It goes to the frog. Is this because his heels were cut too short (and uneven!!!) a few months ago? (different farrier, never using again) Could he have sliced it somehow? I dont ever recall seeing this before but maybe I just never noticed (sometimes I am like that... dont notice a house being built until a month after completion despite driving past daily. Bah) Though I don't think that is the case here as its only on that foot.... LH also looks a tad different and was also soft, but is not splitting...

    Anyone know what this is? Do I need to get the vet out this week?
    Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!

  • #2
    Scratches and thrush

    The pictures show 'scratches' and a contracted heel. The scratches are common on white skin, often a combination of bacteria and fungus creating the problem during wet/damp weather. That heel crack is due to the back of the hoof being contracted. This doesn't happen overnight and your current farrier should be talking with you about the problem. The bulbs are squashed together forming a crack where thrush loves to grow, this is long and deep coming out of the frog. I'm surprised the horse isn't sore, but I'd guess if you ran the hoof pick through the crack to clean it out you would get a reaction.
    It also shows the shoe to be setting on the inner part of the wall, unless the shoes have been on for too long you should not have any of the wall extending outside the shoe.

    Neither situation usually requires a vet. All kinds of scratches treatments are available and it's been discussed here too. The contracted heel is a farrier problem but you may want to talk with your vet about horses with narrow heels and future problems.

    Comment


    • #3
      Clean out the crack in frog with something like hydrogen peroxide. I like to flush it out with a syringe (no needle of course). I then pack the area with something like Dr. Naylor's blue lotion which will dry it out almost overnight. I open up 2x2 gauze sponges & push them into crack. They are easier to remove than cotton & don't soak up moisture like cotton does. I change this daily. At about day 2 or 3 I then pack the area with sole pack hoof packing. It stays in pretty good. I keep applying this until the area grows out.
      Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!
      www.whitfieldfarm.shutterfly.com

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I did put a scratches treatment on the fungus on the skin.

        As for the farrier, I recently moved barns and therefore have a new farrier. Shoes are newly put on (in fact last thursday he was out to reattach a shoe.) He has not mentioned it to me of this and neither did my last farrier. Its been a constant battle with his feet it seems and I'm not entirely sure on this farrier. Doesnt stick out as anything amazing to me (even more so now that he has recently done my horse and didnt even mention this to me?!) I do feel awful for not seeing this sooner but it wasnt something that ever occurred to me to look for and I would have never noticed it if I wasnt treatin the fungus on his legs.

        Should I give him time off despite no soreness? I poked at it and he just stood there not even a flinch. Light riding? Stall rest? Out in pasture or switch to a dry lot so he cant get the area wet and muddy? How long does this typically take to heal up? Any complications that could occur that I should keep an eye out for that would deem vet attention? Do any of his other feet look like they could be developing this, too?

        Ahh question overload!
        Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!

        Comment


        • #5
          That is classic deep sulcus thrush. No matter how it started, its there. Contracted heels do often cause this to start up but not always. Sometimes its environmental and some horses have it for years unnoticed barefoot and shod. Ive even seen horses diagnosed "navicular" when all it was was deep sulcus thrush....sad.

          First, Id soak his foot in some warm epsom salt water if the fissure is painful when you attempt to clean it out with a hoof pick and it is super deep. Some even bleed and go very far up into the foot and will cause a violent reaction when you go in with a q tip and clean it so be careful but do try to clean it well. Soak and then clean out the fissure well with Q tips and a needless syringe blasting out any ickys with the epsom water so start with.

          Then, I like to treat it as an open wound until I get it healing well and dry keeping the horse out of any muck and clean and dry as possible. I like to pack the fissure with differrnt things depending on how the horse reacts. If its sore and bleed, I like to use soothing stuff like the modified version "Petes goo" (basically a mix of equal parts desitin, triple antibiotic ointment, athletes foot cream and generic monostat yeast infection cream..I get it all at the dollar store and mix a bunch) I stuff the fissure full and pack some cotton balls in behind it once or twice a day till it is no longer painful to the horse and the infection is gone. You can akso use Tomorrow mastitus cream for cattle.

          I also like No Thrush which is a powder that seems to work well to clear this up and I also use Thrushbuster to pack on open the fissure as well once it is not causing the horse pain anymore and dry it out well. Sometimes I have to switch between remedies as the environment changes. The main thing is to keep it clean and treated untill its completely grown out or it can and will come back while there is a crack there. There should be nothing but a divot there in the frog.

          PS If you use thrushbuster or other harsh remedies on raw deep sulcus infections, it can make them worse and more painful FYI.

          You can google for more info but suffice it to say that it is a pretty big problem and can even lame horses when not identified and treated.

          Comment


          • #6
            I had a horse with persistent heel crack issues, even once contraction issues were addressed persistent infection kept the crack from healing. finally found a product that allowed the cracks to heal and finally grow closed, a cow mastitis treatment, non prescription, purchased at Valley Vet or TSC, called Today. It comes in a box with 12 dose syringes that have a long pointy tip perfect for sticking deep into the heel crack (designed to go into cow teat). I treated heels every day for five days then waited to see what happened. I was amazed to find them completely healed and grown closed in three weeks. One syringe treated a heel about four times. Whole box cost 30 bucks. It was recommended by an old cowboy farrier and when I asked my vet he said to give it a try. It is a thin ointment type antibiotic and since it was a topical application I was comfortable trying it out. Really glad I did.

            Comment


            • #7
              I second, everything Trinity3205 said, that is classic deep sulcus thrush.

              The treatement Ponyclubrocks suggested should also be effective on deep sulcus thrush.
              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

              Comment


              • #8
                Could also be a result of sheared heels as you said they were uneven....

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would agree that its thrush in the collateral grooves and central sulcus probably, but in the crack between the heel bulbs I would say its also a yeast infection that will thrive on dead thrush if nothing is used to address the fungus. Treating only with an antibacterial/antibiotic is not going to address the fungus. I've used Today before with good luck on Thrush but to get to both bacteria and fungus I find that a combination of antifungal, antibacterial and zinc ointment to be highly effective. I've also used "No Thrush" dry powder with success. The best success also includes getting the hooves trimmed properly and treating the yeast infection systemically at the same time as treating the hooves. I happen to like herbal meds: Calendula is an antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial all in one plus it has properties that promote the rapid growth of new, healthy skin. It's also very soothing. While Tea Tree Oil is also a 4-way 'anti' it doesn't have the properties that promotes rapid new growth and it can also burn like heck. So a combination of Calendula oil (you can actually soak cotton balls or small gauze pads in it and stuff it in the crack) and zinc ointment will help take care of both the thrush and the yeast present. Good luck -- it can be a stubborn situation to rehab/fix. Oh, forgot to add, soaks in organic apple cider vinegar is a great way to help heal ... soak, dry off thoroughly, then pack with the cotton w/Calendula and zinc.
                  --Gwen <><
                  "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
                  http://www.thepenzancehorse.com

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thankyou guys!!! I've made a list to see what al i can find locally.

                    Should i keep it packed an wrapped at all times or should it have breathing time?
                    Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It depends on the healing progress and the environment. ... With a calendula pack you'll see rapid improvement. I generally wrap for overnight and 1/2 a day then soak, dry, rewrap again til next day; may-be wrap again the 3rd day .... but it truly depends on the healing of the individual horse. Usually with yeast you'll get tenderness when you 'dig' into the crevice with the hoofpic and instead of pulling out black, tarry exudate you'll find a white, cheesy like substance that doesn't smell really foul but ... disagreeable. Like cheese. That's your yeast/fungus. Once the tenderness and the exudate dissipates then you can probably leave unwrapped to get some air. Fungus, like bacteria, like an anaerobic, dark, moist environment. So, the more air, the better. And, the drier the better.
                      --Gwen <><
                      "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
                      http://www.thepenzancehorse.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The old guy's feet are not pretty. He's lived in show shoes and then was turned out with very little farrier care. And really, as a pasture pet he doesn't get the daily hoof picking that he needs, because those cracks are insidious, they just get a little worse, and a little worse, and then one day it's "WTF happened?".

                        Last year I sprayed the heel and sole of his foot with a blast of water first, and was horrified to see a great part of his heel and frog just slough off - but I'd been suspicious of it, the texture was just wrong, (your pics look pretty good apart from the deep sulcus so I doubt you'll get that shock), which is why I did it.
                        Next was a gentle scrub with dilute betadine on a green scrubby pad, then rinse and pat dry, then I used Today which is the same ingredient as Tomorrow, inserted the little syringe tip into every nook and cranny and squeezed until the product came bubbling out, then cotton balls gently pressed with a clean pointy tool into said nooks and crannies to hold in the Today and provide some packing, and then the very last thing I did was use a size 4 (22-37 lb) baby diaper and diaper his foot up.

                        What works for me with the diaper is to orient the front to his hoof front and use the tabs, then Gorilla tape the part of the diaper he'll be standing on and a couple around the front to really hold it on. Depending on how much tape you use it'll stay for 24 hours to a couple three days even if he's turned out. Then you will probably need to do it again, and it may recur pretty much for the rest of his life - I have just been waiting for a window of weather to let me repeat this process this year, as this warm weather and muddy conditions aren't so good for my guy - I really need to modify my husbandry/change his living conditions especially given his age and his immune system (he has changes due to Cushing's).

                        Good luck!
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          He has been staying in his stall past few days (mostly due to the storms and then mud) and got a nice grooming today. He lost his shoe on back left and still has the split in the other. Poor guy!

                          Anyway, when I cleaned out the split, there was no reaction. He let me dig away and the only movement from him was due to the flies being bothersome. It was the gooey white nasty crap coming out and it was pretty deep and mushy. I put some thrush stuff (the purple one I forget the name of) in the split as well as all of his soles as the split hoof is pretty foul and the other hind is just a tad and then front just as a preventive.


                          Is the lack of a reaction something to worry about? Or do I just have a more stoic horse than I previously thought...?
                          Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by twadwis View Post
                            The pictures show 'scratches' and a contracted heel. The scratches are common on white skin, often a combination of bacteria and fungus creating the problem during wet/damp weather. That heel crack is due to the back of the hoof being contracted. This doesn't happen overnight and your current farrier should be talking with you about the problem. The bulbs are squashed together forming a crack where thrush loves to grow, this is long and deep coming out of the frog. I'm surprised the horse isn't sore, but I'd guess if you ran the hoof pick through the crack to clean it out you would get a reaction.
                            It also shows the shoe to be setting on the inner part of the wall, unless the shoes have been on for too long you should not have any of the wall extending outside the shoe.

                            Neither situation usually requires a vet. All kinds of scratches treatments are available and it's been discussed here too. The contracted heel is a farrier problem but you may want to talk with your vet about horses with narrow heels and future problems.
                            ^^^ This. And another note -- in between that crack in the heels -- you may find some soft, white cheesy exudate. That's yeast. Fungal. Needs to be treated with antifungal topically as well as systemically for 'candida'. That means reducing all sugars in the diet (yeast thrives on dead bacteria (Thrush, for example) and sugar. If he's got yeast in the hooves he most likely has it in his gut, as well. Supplements (herbals?) to strengthen the immune system is also helpful along with the anti-fungals.
                            --Gwen <><
                            "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
                            http://www.thepenzancehorse.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'd be talking to the farrier (if you trust him) or the vet. White Lightning soaks might be helpful.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                The farrier will be out there tomorrow to reshoe him. I'm hoping I can make it out but I might be working while he is out. I really would like to talk to him about it...

                                As far as herbal treatments for systematic yeasts, what all is out there? Would a probiotic (like yogurt or a capsule) work for a horse like it does for human yeast infections? :P

                                Still, should I be worried about the lack of reaction to the cleaning and digging around? I mean there was no twitch, jerk, ear flick, head bob, weight shift....(did get a tail swish during a fly swarm but that was it...) It was just as if I was picking his hoof.... I mean it just seems like it SHOULD be painful! Could nerve damage happen from this? o_O
                                Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  You caught it before it got up into the really sensitive parts. Thats good! Stuff some cotton balls up in there deep as you can and soak them in thrushbuster or iodine to dry and open the cracks while it grows out. Just change them once a day till no more cotton will stay in.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I had success on deep sulcus thrush using Tomorrow. I got the medication deep in there and stuck a small piece of a cotton bandage in to hold it in place. I reapplied daily and used a new piece of packing each time. I think it took about 3 weeks to really see a difference.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Any tips on keeping the hoof wrapped up? x_x I dont know how long it stays on but it is always coming off..... Always have that problem with him- no matter who does the wrapping xP

                                      Vetwrap? Ductape? Bellboot over it help any? xP
                                      Clancy 17hh chestnut Dutch WB, '99. Owned and loved since '04 and still goin'!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'm bumping this... My mare, who has been on and off lame in LF for quite a while (though sound for about a month... until today) has some of the symptoms described above. Today, heat in her foot, with a similar high "crack" that you see in the photos above, and some fungally smell coming from it. Farrier is coming tomorrow to look.

                                        I will use some of the treatment suggestions above, but can someone talk to me a bit more about contracted heels? I took some pictures (though because it's dark and with a flash, they aren't as good as the ones above...)

                                        Pictures: http://s842.photobucket.com/user/jess32612/library/

                                        First pic is right front. Sound, no heat. A little bit of "soft" dissolve-y hoof in the heel, but there's a much wider gap on this side. Her LF (lame, heat) has the heel of her hoof squished together, as described above, and a fungally smell.

                                        Also in the library are x-rays of the hoof from a few weeks ago when she was lame.

                                        She has winter pads are because the vet found some bruising when he came out and thought she maybe ran around on the frozen ground.
                                        "I'd rather have a horse. A horse is at least human, for god's sake." - J.D. Salinger

                                        Comment

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