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Front leg suddenly swollen???

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  • Front leg suddenly swollen???

    Hi All,

    My 2 year old abscessed in his right front hoof about 2 weeks ago. He's been sore but was getting better, then today looked much worse suddenly. Pulled him out, took his boot off, and cleaned everything out and he walked ok back to the stall. I checked both fronts - everything looked fine - no heat and no swelling. I decided to lock him in because it was raining all day and I wanted him out of the wet and off the gravel paddock... Everything seemed fine.

    Just went out to do night check and he had no weight on the opposite front leg (so the left front). Went in his stall and it is very swollen from his pastern almost to his knee. I have a call into my vet and waiting for a call back... In the meantime I'm heading out to cold hose.

    Any ideas? Anything I should be doing now? Not sure if I should treat this as an emergency and ring the vet a few more times or cold hose and wait until morning? Any input while I'm waiting for the vet to call back is GREATLY appreciated!
    Last edited by RedmondDressage; Apr. 22, 2013, 03:38 AM.

  • #2
    Sounds like you're on top of this ~ cold hosing and vet call ~ Jingles & AO ~

    Sounds like you're on top of this ~ cold hosing and vet call ~

    Jingles & AO ~
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


    • #3
      Abscess probably needs to be opened up again.
      Eric Russell CJF


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by eruss View Post
        Abscess probably needs to be opened up again.
        That's the very weird thing... It's in the leg opposite of the one with the abscess. When I cleaned the hoof with the abscess yesterday I checked for swelling on both legs. I always do just to compare. Both were clean and tight. Walked back to his stall and he was barely off. Went out for night check around 11PM and there he is favoring the opposite leg so I go in to check and it's completely swollen. Not much heat but very swollen from pastern to just below his knee.

        Had a very crappy night - got up to check on him every 2 or 3 hours. Not sure what exactly that was supposed to accomplish but made me feel better... Finally got a little sleep at about 4AM and had a very realistic dream that I went back out for the next check and his hoof fell off! Ugh. In any case, the vet is on her way over right now. Fingers crossed it's nothing major. I've gotten so attached to this baby and he's really growing up to be so handsome. It would be absolutely heart breaking if it's something serious


        • #5
          It's possible to have an abcess in both fronts...mine had a "rash" of them a few years ago in 3 different feet, one right after the other.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by AA Hunter View Post
            It's possible to have an abcess in both fronts...mine had a "rash" of them a few years ago in 3 different feet, one right after the other.
            Aaaaand that's exactly what it was! The vet just left. We picked up his feet and found that not one but two abscesses had blown out of his other heel sometime overnight. Vet had to cut away a decent chunk of his hoof wall on both sides but other than that he's no worse for the wear. Already walking much better. SO relieved. I always feel a little like I overreact to things like this... But man the swelling was really bad and the vet visit was necessary in the end so I'm not toooo embarrassed. Better safe than sorry.

            In other news - I HATE SPRING IN THE PNW! It has seriously been abscess central around here with the wet - dry - wet - dry. Summer needs to show up ASAP!
            Last edited by RedmondDressage; Apr. 22, 2013, 02:57 PM.


            • #7
              Mine just did this last month.

              Off and on lameness. Some swelling up the tendon sheath...oh no. Off to the vet we go. I had to hire someone to haul her as I was on one leg. Vet's diagnosis...sprained fetlock...based on swelling visible on x-ray. I thought she was kind of pissy about the hoof testers but he didn't think so.

              Bring her home and bute her for two days per vet's instructions.
              She was much better so I don't go out on Friday. Saturday, I go out to stovepipe leg with swelling clear up above the hock.
              As I stare at her for the next hour and watch her desperately avoid weighting her heel, I decide it must be an abscess. I soaked her and viola, over night it popped out the coronet above the heel bulb. Thank good ness.

              It is so easy to assume the worst. They are horses after all.



              • #8
                A big swelling like that is definitely a next day emergency. I'm glad it worked out for you.

                My vet has taught me that if the horse is weightbearing on the limb and there are no punctures/wounds, and it's not presenting as founder, that usually lameness is not an emergency, that it can wait until the morning. Severe lameness without obvious cause is usually an abscess. Cold hosing is never a bad thing to do.

                I can still call of course, and do, but this has given me a great deal of peace of mind over the years when I discover a problem at dusk.
                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                • Original Poster

                  My vet made me feel much better about calling her at 11PM on a Sunday... Apparently she has people who will call at similar times because they hear their horse cough once LOL

                  Baby boy is looking much better today - swelling isn't gone but definitely going down. He's bearing weight and walking well although his big purple wrap makes him look pretty silly. I do feel bad for the little guy though - he's used to having 24 hour access to the paddock and field. I actually don't think I've ever locked him in... He's behaving fine but has been whinnying off and on all day for his friend and probably to get me to come let him out. I can't imagine having to put a youngster on stall rest for a long period of time, three days is driving him batty! Can't wait until I can switch him to the boot and let him out tomorrow, he's making me feel very guilty This is when I wish we would have opted for dutch doors instead of sliders on the exterior so he could at least look outside and visit with his buddy.