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Abscess - how long to heal?

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  • Abscess - how long to heal?

    Hi everyone,
    My poor boy came up 3-legged lame about a month ago. Started soaking and packing with sugar/betadine. Had the vet out right away who said it was an abscess and prescribed SMZs. He got better (still slightly off but not 3-legged lame) in about 1 week. Then a week later, he was 3-legged lame again. Had the vet back out who said to keep him on SMZs and keep soaking. It did drain it 2 spots but the poor boy is still very very lame.
    So at this point, I've been soaking for about a month now - twice a day - and packing with (alternating) sugar/betadine and ichthammol. The horse is turned out full time but with this horrid mud and snow we've been having I figured he may be re-infecting the abscess so I kept him in for a week last week with hand-walking on concrete and hand-grazing but that didn't really seem to do much.
    I know I am probably impatient but it's hard seeing him in pain like that. How long has it taken your ponies to heal?
    xoxo Lost in the muddy/frozen tundra

  • #2
    I've had abcesses, before, and only this year did I have one that took over 1 and 1/2 months to blow. I was considering getting an MRI, as the horse was so dead lame for so long. Keep up the soaking, daily, and hang in there. My horse's abcess eventually came out at the coronary band, even though there was a hint of it on the bottom of the hoof.


    • #3
      They have a mind of their own so...whenever they damn well feel like it!
      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


      • #4
        I don't want to be the alarmist here but I had a horse with a similar presentation and it turned out to be a coffin bone chip. The abscess had actually been caused by the infection in the coffin bone itself. For an abscess that's been going on a full month, and has already partially drained but is still causing lameness, I would have a vet do an x-ray just to make absolutely sure it's just an abscess.
        life + horses


        • #5
          Generally abscesses are over and done with fairly quick.

          Naturally you've got an unusual one. I had a mare with one like that a few years ago, started in August and didn't resolve fully until late December/early January and even then it took a while for the hoof to fully look normal again because she'd actually ended up sloughing off part of her sole and frog at one point. It was terrible. We'd gone through several mini-bursts in the bottom (farrier had even dug it out), X-rays (which determined it had gone haywire. My words not the vets) it ended up blowing out the heel AND the coronary band in the end.

          Word of advice, don't oversoak. Check with your vet, but s/he will probably say yes to ichthamol, wrapping with whatever concoction you're comfortable with, etc. but my mistake was continuing to soak religiously and that caused more problems than I already had. Ditto on getting an x-ray to find out what's going on with it, and to make sure it's only an abscess.

          Good luck, I know exactly how frustrating it can be!


          • #6
            Karatomas can also present as recurring abscesses as well. Just a thought.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everybody! I have a call in with the vet to ask about possibly doing X-rays and I'll be sure to ask about keratomas as well. Thanks!


              • #8
                If it does turn out to be a bad absccess that is traveling around and not really coming out, talk with our vet about continued soaking. My vet does not recommend soaking for more than 7 days because it can soften the hoof so much that you end up with difficulty holding shoes after, stone bruises and other problems.