View Full Version : Abscesses - your experiences

12-02-08, 03:10 PM
For anyone whose horse has had one, could you briefly describe how they presented? If lame, how long for that sort of thing and also how quickly they responded to treatment thanks http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

12-02-08, 03:29 PM
I've had experiences of 5 over the last 6 years on different horses. My big gelding came in on 3 legs one night, vet found abcess, 3 days of poulticing night and morning and antibiotics and he was fine. Old pony had two, first was just a feely type lameness, rumbled on for 10 days before bursting, poulticed for 3 days prior to burst, 5 afterwards (seemed to be forever!) antibiotics and it was fine, second one she had was came in with smellly burst abcess, no previous lameness, poulticed for 3 days, then dry dressing and was fine. The other two were in my old mare who had a sand crack in her left hind which was forever tracking in dirt, it would get quite deep, I'd normally spot the heat before any lameness as she was mechanically lame already, poulticing could go on for weeks at a time, 2 lots of antibiotics. She really was an exceptional extreme case though!

12-02-08, 04:02 PM
Thanks, how soon did your geldings lameness go after poulticing? Duke came in on Sat lame with swelling from foot to around the tendon. Vet came and pared down and found the abscess, which was poulticed overnight. However the next morning he was still very lame (no bute or antibiotics), she came back and seemed to think that this was extreme and he needed x-raying (seedy toe and keratomas were mentioned). Anyway she cut a bit more away and prescribed bute, Monday he was so much better and today he is great. She saw him again today and still said maybe he needed x-rays. My farrier came and saw him yesterday and said there was no sign of seedy toe and said he would have been intermittently lame with keratomas. Have decided to wait and see how he goes before x-raying as I am pretty sure the cause of the abscess was taking himself to his field halfway through shoeing last week with newly trimmed feet and only one shoe half on http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/grin.giffarrier agrees.

12-02-08, 04:10 PM
My dressage horse was out of action for 6 months with one last year. He had a chronic abscess which although we spotted it quickly it wouldn't clear up. It tracked up the leg and came out through the coronet band. I changed his poultice everyday for 10 days when we first spotted it, thought it had cleared up & then it came back. This happened so many times we lost count! He ended up with a huge hole in his hoof wall which has only just grown out now. He had huge amounts of antibiotics, I was pouring hydrogen peroxide into the hole the vet cut out every day and poulticing like mad. All in all, it was a complete nightmare but it was an extreme case! Most other abscesses I've dealt with although incredibly painful at the time for the horse, have generally been quick to clear up & the horse has been back in work after about a week or 10 days.

12-02-08, 04:11 PM
Thanks, all very helpful http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

12-02-08, 04:52 PM
My experience is exactly the same as Panda2007, one took about 4 months to clear up and it moved itself up the wall of the hoof but he also was never particularly lame either just a little bit all the time. Other abscesses (with other horses) have been particularly painful but after pouliticing have gone very quickly.

12-02-08, 08:17 PM
My previous horse, Jake had one once - he came in from the field hopping lame. And I mean really lame - thought he'd broken his leg!
The farrier came and removed the shoe and the vet gave him some anti-biotics. I think it cleared up after about a week with some poulticing.
It did make him wary of the farrier for quite a long time though!

12-02-08, 09:10 PM
All the ones I have dealt with, lameness has come on very gradually, from a slight 'iffyness' to lame over several days. Normally, once open (via hole cut in hoof or breaking through coronary band) they are sound again in 24 hours. Unfortunately the latest is still not sound on hard ground after three weeks.

12-02-08, 09:17 PM
Have one right now!!

Any sudden onset violent lamness without obvious injury and my first reaction is abcess. It very much depends on the underlying cause as to length of recovery, most are simple infections, some travel up the laminae to erupt at the coronet band and some are due to other more complex factors.

This one is from a very small crack in the wall by the toe. I get the farrier straight out to investigate and if necessary dig the hole (have found them more precise than some vets in the past who have left the horses sole looking like London in the blitz) of course if the farrier recommends it I will call the vet but generally speaking I have polticed it and noticed a considerable improvement within a few hours. I would expect a simple infection to only result in lameness for about 3 days .

Have found the perfect poltice boot, I buy silage repair tape on a reel, put the poltice in place, secure with half a cohesive bandage then put the tape liberally all over the top of the bandage and add extra layers to the wall of the hoof at the sole. When a new one is needed cut it off carefully with a knife and start again. I then apply a dry dressing for a day or so then fill the hole with keretex hoof putty.

12-02-08, 09:25 PM
In this case I would go with the farrier and give it some time.
The most common problem we get here is abcesses, they happen because minute chips of granite work their way into the feet and then go pussy. The locals call it granite poisoning and I thought they were mad to start with, but it really does exist.
We started off doing the conventional cutting out, poulticing and packing with stockholm tar and covering the foot, and in some cases anti biotics.
Then husband decided to try just opening by the farrier to let pus out, giving a really good clean out and spraying with antiseptic spray then just leaving alone.
I argued at the time but had to eat my words, his method of doing very little but watching carefully works in 90% of the cases.
We do still give anti biotics if it doesn't respond quickly to the opening up and draining, but they all clear up very quickly. of course the horse must have an up to date tet injection if you try this method.
We also find if the vet does the digging he makes a deeper hole which takes longer to heal than the farrier, so we try to use him first if possible.
I would give your horse a week or two and see if he goes sound, provided the hole isn't too deep the growth is fast and once the initial pain goes he should get sounder every day.

13-02-08, 09:35 AM
horses sole looking like London in the blitz

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes we have one of those!

Henryhorn - we are going with our farrier, thanks for your advice.

13-02-08, 01:03 PM
My horse Jack had a nail in his sole, between the point of the frog and the heel, if that makes sense. Nail removed, no fractures or damage to pedal bone-coffin joint. Thankfully! Poulticed for a week antibiotics every other day for 5 days, BUTE.

He came sound for 1 day then bang abcess on the bulb of his heel, it was huge, it burst and we poulticed again for a week drenching it in an iodine based solution in a cotton wool type poultice boot. (I live in Germany and thats how they do it here) More antibiotics for 4 days. It is now a month and he is still lame, big hole in his heel that vet has said must self heal. Still on BUTE but no longer under vet care. Now looking at Farrier putting raised shoes on him to take the pressure off his heel.

Fingers x'd.

13-02-08, 02:19 PM
Michelle-jack our mare had a heel abscess last year, she was lame for 2 months before it burst http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif and then took another 3-4 weeks until she was completely sound, so hang in there http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

13-02-08, 04:09 PM
My yearling started having foot abcesses at 3 months old - burst through the coronet band straight away, antibiotics, gone for another three months.

It came back in December, twice in January so he's been in box rest for three weeks now after the latest bout and the x-rays revealed a suspect shadow near the pedal bone. He has been on antibiotics for the past two and a half weeks poor mite - and not yet 9 months old.

The vet is coming tomorrow to check on him, keeping fingers & toes crossed!


13-02-08, 06:54 PM
Henryhorn, that is actually how both our farrier and our vet treat them.

13-02-08, 08:00 PM
Pony came in a bit lame from the field in the evening, the next morning he was on 3 legs and could barely walk. The infection had tracked up the leg and my first thought was "tendon" even though I couldn't quite believe he could have done that. So back into stable and phoned vet.

Immediately obvious with hoof nipper thingies that there was an abscess, she removed the shoe, lanced and drained it. Instant relief from pony's pain. Then dressings of pevidine (iodine), gamgee, vetwrap and duct tape all covered over with a poultice boot. I kept him in for next 24 hours, then fenced off the worst of the mud in his paddock and turned him out again. Dressings changed daily for a week with foot "tubbed" before the new dressing went on, and also a 5 day course of bute (1 sachet a day). Shoe went back on a week later, it was another week after that before he was truly sound again.

If only I'd known it was an abscess, I would have gone straight to the farrier, would have cost me 30 instead of 100!

13-02-08, 08:55 PM
I've had 7 abscesses with my 10 yo 18 hh gelding and know the signs but once it is drained he is instantly sound. However, I'm not so sure with my 36 yo gelding at the mo (see earlier post). He has been v lame for almost 2 weeks, farrier has pared a small hole but a small amount of blood drained. Poulticed for several days but no pus. So removed dressing and applied antiseptic hoof spray.

He cant wear shoes anymore as he is arthritic but am getting him a set of Old Mac's. However, this evening YO reported he had come in quite distressed and when I cleaned his hoof the former hole began bleeding quite a bit as in dripping on the ground. I called the vet who is coming out tomorrow. I've wrapped his foot in lint and vetrap and given him a sachet of Danilon. He was waving his hoof in the air and pointing and clearly it is hurting him but I'm not convinced it is an abscess, in my experience it would have burst out or tracked up to the coronet.

Worried he maybe showing signs of keratoma but no bulging of the horn, or a growth or it maybe a very deep abscess now causing bone infection. He is usually a grumpy independent little horse but tonight he was burying his head in my chest for comfort and attention so I cuddled him until painkiller took effect, he eventually ate his tea and started to much his haylage. Can't wait until tomorrow to get this sorted. Run of the mill abscesses I can deal with but this is worrying me now.

18-02-08, 08:16 AM
Well, it looks like it's all good!

The shadow is gone, and the foot is growing well. Another week or so and he can resume life as normal back out in the field!

I am so relieved!