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Sole Bruise-- How lame and how long?

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  • Sole Bruise-- How lame and how long?

    My horse was diagnosed with a sole bruise last week. He was lame a month ago for one day-- sudden lameness that was gone the next AM without bute, etc. We figured it was cold, he might have taken a wrong step and was a bit ouchy and then felt okay the next day. He had been shod about 2-3 days prior to that day with a new farrier who did par out a great bit of sole and changed his shoeing a bit (his heels were getting contracted so the new farrier put a wider opened shoe on and he did have too much sole).

    Since a month ago, the temps have been very low, the ground has been frozen solid, and there has been some snow/ice that he was turned out on (when it wasn't too frozen or icy). He is not used to this climate/frozen footing-- just moved here about a month and a half ago from a warmer climate.

    On occasion over the past month, he would take a NQR step every now (once or twice a week) and then. Nothing major- usually around turns. There were also certain days he just didn't move out as much as he usually does. I chalked it up to extreme cold temps and footing that he wasn't quite used to.

    Fast forward to the week of New Years. That Friday horse is lame at trot. We just walk and call it a day. No heat/swelling. Saturday he is much better, but still NQR. Sunday okay, Monday okay. Tuesday he is taking ouchy steps at the trot. Wednesday stick him on a lunge line to see what we have-- he is the lamest he has been. Is gaurding the left front foot.

    Vet comes out and doesn't find him senstive on any soft tissue. Block the hoof and horse is okay. Pull the shoe and there is a very visable and large bruise on the inside heel area. Strangely enough, horse isn't super senstive to hoof testers though. Vet has farrier put bigger shoes on to take some of the pressure off the bruise and has horse on bute for two weeks. Horse has not been turned out (footing very icy and frozen) and just handwalked and hand trotted (like two passes worth) since vet was out per vet recommendation. Five days forward, horse is still lame, although not nearly as lame as before. I'd rate him between a 2-1. Horse is noticably more relaxed and altert, as the day prior to the vet out he was a bit dull.

    I've never dealt with a sole bruise, so I don't know what to expect as far as how long it will take for him to recover. I know they can abcess, but I would think he would get much lamer if that was the case. Should he still be lame (although with improvement) at this point or should I be calling the vet back out? It is a new vet and a new barn, so I don't know the total program around here yet-- ie, vet and I aren't on speed dial terms .

    Does this reasoning make sense:
    Shod a month ago with pared out soles combined with ice-- bruise started forming at that point, making him off and on again slightly ouchy. Bruise got to a point (especially if there was pressure from the shoe still on it) where it really hurt the horse and he was LAME.

  • #2
    It depends how deep the bruising goes. My horse got a bruise this summer and was off for 5.5 weeks. He was pretty much lame that entire time. I was soaking, packing, turning out for movement, not turning out to keep him on soft squishy ground - didn't matter-dead lame.

    Finally he started showing improvement (about 5 weeks in). I had the farrier put the shoes back on at 5.5 weeks (the shoes were pulled for soaking and keeping an eye on things in case he ended up popping an abscess) and he was instantly all better.

    My horse didn't really give me any signs something was wrong initially though. We were at a show where he went beautifully Saturday but Sunday was backed off and instead of stepping up from behind when I asked for more he just got long and flat. I felt that he wasn't quite right but couldn't pin point where or why. We came home Sunday PM, he had off Monday, and Tuesday I tried to take him for a light hack - only he was dead lame.

    Bruises take time - sometimes a long time. My other experiences with bruising were not my horses but the couple I remember required a lengthy recovery. Be patient and definitely keep the horse moving to promote good circulation.
    Lord Stanely, Lord Stanley - come back to Pittsburgh!!!
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    • #3
      I am going through something similar right now...expcept he was barefoot when the bruises occurred, has soft tissue tenderness and major reaction to hoof testers! Mine has bruised the sole as well as heel bulbs and had worn the bar on the inside of the left front to the sole... and I was told it could take the winter before he'll be completely sound (now has corrective shoes to give him pain relief). He's actually moving much better now, but still lame. So, it COULD be a long haul.
      Mine is getting turned out, as staying in a stall is just asking for trouble! And his shoes cover the entire sole.

      I'd watch for an abscess, as we are now too. As far as your reasoning, it sounds good to me...as I believe our problems started back in Nov (when I first noticed off steps at the trot) and then the hard ground, etc just kept it going downhill.
      RIP Traveler & Tesla <3

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      • #4
        Sole bruises can easily take 6-8 weeks to recover. They are a bummer, make the owner feel terrible, ect, BUT they do come back 100% if thats the only problem. Did your new vet take xrays of the foot to look for absesses or damage to the bone structure?

        Once you know you have no other issues, keep him moving (walk, no trot) as much as he can tolerate. I know it sounds mean, but horses need to be moving to have good circulation and promote timely healing. You may want to ask your vet if pulling your guy's shoes for a while is a good option for him or not. On the bright side, at least it's January not June!

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        • #5
          Good news-- horse was much better last night. Still not 100%, but I finally see some good progress.

          Vet did not take xrays-- he did not feel it was necessary as the bruise was rather blatent once the shoe was removed and it was not in an area that would indicate laminae issues. He is not abcess lame at this time-- he was always fine at the walk and always putting full weight on the foot.

          Vet and farrier agreed keeping the shoe on was best, as leaving it off would put more pressure on the spot where it is located. Horse has thinish soles (always had). Agreed that next winter he should get pads to help protect his soles from the hard icey ground, but they did not feel pads were a smart move at this point-- could cause more pressure on that spot and also would not leave the area open if he were to abcess, etc.

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          • #6
            My horse had one last year. His was at the end of his shoeing cycle and his shoe shifted while I was lungeing him and made him have painful sole pressure and a bruise (I think it was technically called a corn). He went 3-legged lame --- I thought he'd fractured his coffin bone!
            He was kept shod while he healed. His feet were kept dry, no soaking. He was LAME and pointed the bad foot for a long time. It took about 3 months for him to become sound again. I iced the bruised foot with an ice boot that kept his hoof dry.
            We saw the kind of serum-ey bruise as it grew out, but it was not that spectacular. Sole pressure causes major changes in the foot in an instant. Good luck!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by leatherh-Alter View Post
              Good news-- horse was much better last night. Still not 100%, but I finally see some good progress.

              Vet did not take xrays-- he did not feel it was necessary as the bruise was rather blatent once the shoe was removed and it was not in an area that would indicate laminae issues. He is not abcess lame at this time-- he was always fine at the walk and always putting full weight on the foot.

              Vet and farrier agreed keeping the shoe on was best, as leaving it off would put more pressure on the spot where it is located. Horse has thinish soles (always had). Agreed that next winter he should get pads to help protect his soles from the hard icey ground, but they did not feel pads were a smart move at this point-- could cause more pressure on that spot and also would not leave the area open if he were to abcess, etc.
              If the horse has "thinnish soles", why did your new farrier "par out a great bit of sole"?

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              • #8
                Had really dry summer and rock hard ground in the pastures. Mare was NQR in the fall, just thought it was hocks.

                Farrier trimmed in Oct and found several deep bruises that were not visable until that trim. Also not reactive to pressure from testers. We poulticed for about 3 days. Off for about 6 to 8 weeks (we leave the shoes on) for winter vacation anyway so no problem.

                I'd say you should lay off serious work with this one for about 2 or 3 weeks to let that really grow out and watch out for abcesses-might want to soak and poultice or paint with icthammol and wrap for 3 days just to make sure.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the shared stories, guys!

                  Why did the farrier par sole out when he has thin soles? First, he doesn't have super thin soles (hence, I've never had issues in the past and he's never had to wear pads or anything)-- just "thinish." The barn I moved from had a crappy farrier that I was not pleased with, but it was a temporary situation and they did not allow outside farriers. I do not have a truck/trailer, and therefore could not take him to get done elsewhere. Even when I would say "this exactly what I want done and how" he'd still end up not being done to my liking. His feet had a lot of "junk" on them this last cycle-- stuff that would have probably sloughed off by itself had he been shod/balanced correctly, but that wasn't happening. That's why the farrier cleaned them up as much as he did. It will not be something he does in the future when he does him.

                  I am hesitant to poultice or soak as I have heard conflicting evidence as to what is best with a bruise. I've been painting his soles with Keretex (obviously not the frog!).

                  It is FREEZING here, and I wouldn't be in to working him much anyway-- footing is hard and I'm not going to freeze my self to death. I'm only able to get out there every other dayish this week due to weather and road conditions (we are being dumped on with snow), so he is basically just getting the walk/trot a few steps so I can see what is going on treatment. I don't forsee next week being much different, so he will be getting those 3 weeks of downtime easily.

                  And you are right-- I am thankful that it is January and nasty outside and not July!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sole bruises can take a while. I have a horse with thinish soles who had a bruise this winter. He was NQR suddenly and was positive to hoof testers, the farrier put leather pads on and he was 100% sound. I ride this horse on a variety of footing, (trail rides, arenas, and cross country courses). I am thinking I may just keep pads on him when he is working so I can minimize the bruising.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Unfortunately quite a few farriers cut too much sole when trimming for shoes. I think this was exactly what caused your horse's bruise - excessive sole trimming, making the sole too thin. Hooftester are not always a realiable means of diagnosing bruises.

                      I would discuss this with the farrier and would insist on no more trimming of sole unless it is shedding on its own anyway.

                      I would also allow the horse turnout if at all possible. It helps with the healing process. The flexion and expansion of the hoof will help work any possibly abscesses out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
                        Unfortunately quite a few farriers cut too much sole when trimming for shoes. I think this was exactly what caused your horse's bruise - excessive sole trimming, making the sole too thin. Hooftester are not always a realiable means of diagnosing bruises.

                        I would discuss this with the farrier and would insist on no more trimming of sole unless it is shedding on its own anyway.

                        I would also allow the horse turnout if at all possible. It helps with the healing process. The flexion and expansion of the hoof will help work any possibly abscesses out.

                        As I said, this was a case of him having way to much shedding sole-- that's what the new farrier cleaned up. In the future, he won't be taking the sole off like that or at all, for that matter. He had explained this to me right after he shod him (and prior to the lame horse)-- what he did, why, and how it would differ in the future. I have every faith in this farrier-- heard nothing but excellent reviews from all in the area and some BNTs from outside the area as well. His feet were just crap to begin with due to the farrier who had worked on him most recently and I think the positive foot changes combined with the environmental changes didn't work together right away.

                        No turnout in this weather. Full body clipped horse in -20 or more with windchills even lower is not happening, no matter the blanketing-- especially one not used to cold. Plus, the ground is frozen, has about a foot of snow with more falling, and then chunks of ice underneath from past snow that has frozen but then iced as the temps dropped. Not going to help the sole bruise I am usually all for as much turnout as possible and I wish he could get out, but it is just not going to happen at this point. Especially since I am sure the turnout footing greatly contributed to his bruise-- will remedy that with pads next winter.

                        Anything better than Keretex for his soles at this point? Would the icthamol be a better option at this stage?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, if you do have an abcess brewing, the icthammol would draw it out while keratex is a hardener. Depends on what you want to accomplish, toughen or soften to draw out.

                          Tincture of time will do the most and this is a good time for most of us to lay off. Good timing.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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