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Help/suggestions for horse that gets abscesses!

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  • Help/suggestions for horse that gets abscesses!


    I'm hoping someone can help me out with suggestions of how to keep abscesses/thrush aka nasty foot syndrome at bay. We have had a LOT of rain this year, and my horse's feet just can't handle it. He gets thrush-y whenever it is wet, and with prolonged periods of wetness he abscesses, despite my best efforts. He is turned out at night, stalled during the day.

    He abscessed in March in a hind foot, then last week in a front foot. This time it's a really bad one, vet thinks he might be off for weeks. I missed a competition last weekend because of this, and now will probably miss my next one in about 3 weeks. He's in a considerable amount of pain with this one, and I feel terrible for him

    This is what I am currently doing:

    Feet are thoroughly cleaned thoroughly every day, and sole paint (from a compound pharmacy, looks like it's iodine, formaldehyde, etc) applied to sole (avoiding frog of course). I use Keratex hoof hardener on the outside.

    What SHOULD I be doing? I'm willing to try just about anything.... magic cushion? venice turpentine?

  • #2
    Frequent abscessing is usually diet related, but trimming too much sole could also be a contributing factor. You may be dealing with both.

    Reed this: Feeding the Hoof


    • #3
      Did your vet x-ray, just for a baseline, to see if there is more going on in there?

      That is the first we do if a horse has more than one rare abcess.
      We had a horse with reocurring abcesses that had a crack in the coffin bone and that is what was causing those.
      Once the crack finally healed, he quit having abcesses.
      We had another horse that, on x-rays, it was showing he had a naturally extremely thin sole and that was why he was having problems.
      Your horse may be borderline foundering also.

      X-rays will rule out much that it could be and then you can go from that, if it is only the conditions the horse is living in, like the continuous mud.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the quick replies. I should have mentioned the following information:

        this horse has chronic renal failure. he's only 7 years old, pretty mysterious and a fairly recent discovery (march of this year). So, vet, farrier, and I are all working closely together to get this horse properly managed. Right now we're weaning him off of 10% sweet feed onto McCauleys M30, plus omega 3 fish oil, red cell, and a product called Benefat from progressive nutrition - this all under the advice of vet & his nutritionist consult.

        we have base line xrays of the feet that didn't show anything interesting....

        I am sure I'm dealing with a gigantic conbination of factors here (biggest of all is renal failure which affects ability to uptake nutrients followed by living in the amazon rainforest aka Lexington KY) but I am trying to manage this issue as best as I can!


        • #5
          The conditions that are creating the thrush may have nothing at all to do with the abcesses-probably have 2 different issues here.

          One thing...that compound for the thrush actually can be overused, most are 2 or 3 times a week. Overuse can make them tender. You may have to keep him in for a few nights to get those feet to dry out. Sticking him back out in the wet just can restart that cycle and keep the environment ripe for the fungus and bacteria regardless of what you put on it.

          Far as the abcesses....sometimes you think you beat one but the underlying infection is still there and it will reoccur over and over until the infection is eradicated. Horses that have alot of abcesses either have infections that are never really knocked down or they may have a systemic problem that weakens their immunity and compromises their ability to heal.

          Now...you say this one had an abcess in March and now has another in a different foot? Has he had these before or are these the only two? Because right now...you have a too wet environment making the thrush tough and you have 2 abcesses in 2 different feet over 4 months-that's not really a panic issue, maybe just bad timing and luck.

          But if he continually has abcess problems over a long period of time? That would indicate an issue. I'm not convinced diet is a culprit with the thrush if he is living in knee deep slop every night but if it does not clear when it dries out, it might be worth looking into.

          Also, have you really checked your turn out for anything that could be causing excessive bruising? Abcesses come from brusing and other trauma so rule out the external causes first.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • Original Poster

            Yes, one abscess in hind foot in march, current one in front foot. he has had only one abscess before these two, and that was 2 years ago... but then again we have been in a drought the past 2 years, haha!

            the thrush does clear up when it dries out, but returns practically instantaneously when it rains again....

            pastures are definitely not knee deep slop- lush green grass but the areas around the gates are a mud pit when it's wet out. there also is gravel around the farm in various areas, including around the gates, so bruising from that leading to abscesses might be a possibility... hmmmm....


            • #7
              Originally posted by BornToRide View Post
              Frequent abscessing is usually diet related, but trimming too much sole could also be a contributing factor. You may be dealing with both.
              Please explain the diet connection of a horse who is abscessing frequently when there is a lot of moisture in the environment, and not abscessing otherwise.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Androcles View Post
                Please explain the diet connection of a horse who is abscessing frequently when there is a lot of moisture in the environment, and not abscessing otherwise.
                I'm sure BornToRide can give a better answer than I can, but my mare recently had a rash of abscesses that were diet related. They showed up worse in the moist environment because their feet expand when really wet, which can create a lot of pressure, making these pockets show up. My mare was showing systems of being IR--we changed the diet--beet pulp, good vit/min supplement, and Mg along with just a wee bit of diet balancer, and her abscesses have stopped, despite all the wetness we've gotten.


                • #9
                  after fighting abscesses for a few years while battling proud flesh i can agree with the diet abscess relationship. once we finally beat the battle of the proud flesh, my horse has only gotten one abscess.. and that was shortly after the proud flesh issue was resolved. good luck its a tough battle.. diet and vitamins are key though..


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Androcles View Post
                    Please explain the diet connection of a horse who is abscessing frequently when there is a lot of moisture in the environment, and not abscessing otherwise.
                    Since you do not seem to be paying attention to what I have said before, I'll repeat it just for you Incorrect diet makes the hoof material weaker with less resistance to environmental factors such as moisture. The moisture than opens the way for pathogens to invade the horn and set up shop, while healthy hoof tissue rarely is affected by such issues, if ever

                    There definitely is also a connection between thrush and frequent abscessing - both are generally the result of weakness in the hoof tissue that comes from the inside out, unless the abscessing alone is caused by chronically overtrimming the sole. Since this horse has both, I suspect the hoof material is not as healthy and strong as it could be.