Abscess confusion?! Opinions please

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31 January 2014
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My pony has got an abscess and the vet came and dug it out. He was absolutely dog lame and so I only turned him out in the day for an hour when the others had come in. The vet advised that I turn him out as normal as long as its dry however the farrier has said to keep him in on box rest? Farrier hasnt seen abscess yet, he is coming tomorrow to have a look how it is going.

I am now unsure what to do?! He is still lame but happy to be out. I have put him out this morning and watched him for a bit, the others do play rough but he seems to be getting on ok. I am currently hot poulticing it. I have wrapped it up with duct tape and a feed bag. I will be going up on my lunch break to check on him.

Would you turn him out in the day as normal or keep him on box rest?
 

Tnavas

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So long as you can keep the poultice on, undamaged then he will be fine turned out, movement will help drain the abscess.

However being on hard dry ground may make him very sore whereas the softness of his bed in the stable will make him feel more comfortable.
 
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So long as you can keep the poultice on, undamaged then he will be fine turned out, movement will help drain the abscess.

However being on hard dry ground may make him very sore whereas the softness of his bed in the stable will make him feel more comfortable.
So do you think that maybe I should bring him in at lunch time? To give him a break from the hard ground. His poultice is very very well padded with a nappy and a tonne of duct tape.

My worry is that I will make it worse as that is what the farrier said would happen but like you say I would have thought it would drain it whilst hes out moving??
 

Traveller59

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I would also turn out with poultice dressing , boot or duct tape as long as you can keep it clean and dry.
I have even done this even in the depths of a foul wet winter and they've been ok. But my horses prefer being out. :)
 
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How long were they lame for? He presented very very lame on Sunday/Monday morning, vet came monday night and dug it out and said he would feel relieved. He is still lame, not as bad as he was but still badly lame, is this normal?
 

eggs

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I poultice mine, vet wrap over poultice, baby nappy (for padding) over and hen vet wrap followed by plastic sacking and plenty of duck tape to hold it all on and then turn out.

In answer to your question, most horses will become sound as soon as the abscess is drained although it is not uncommon for it to be have tracked around and to rumble on for some time.
 

Traveller59

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You should see an improvement fairly quickly, within 2 to 3 days, but that all depends on what the source of the infection is..... Once the pressure is relieved and any pus is draining your pony will feel less pain.
 
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You should see an improvement fairly quickly, within 2 to 3 days, but that all depends on what the source of the infection is..... Once the pressure is relieved and any pus is draining your pony will feel less pain.
Today is the 3rd day and although he is still lame it is much improved. There doesnt seem to be much gunk on the poultice tbh, although it does stink really bad. Im not sure whether to hot or dry poultice tonight? I am worried his feet will go soft
 

ester

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keeping him moving will encourage drainage, if it still smells I would keep wet poulticing, his feet will harden up soon enough once removed.
 

Micropony

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I feel your pain! My previous horse had THE most horrendous hoof abscess that ended up with months off work and hundreds of pounds' worth of vet treatment and remedial farriery, very much worst case scenario so I don't want to alarm you unnecessarily but if you can take anything from what I learned...

1. Agree with other posters that movement will help it drain so it's a question of personal choice really whether you turn out and how much, do his field companions play rough, will he be at an unfair disadvantage if he can't defend himself or get away.

2. If the horse is still lame then the infection probably hasn't resolved, especially if there's still any heat in the foot and/or a digital pulse. If it hasn't all drained it will come back and rumble on. Get vet and farrier on it together, and if you're unsure you could ask for a foot x-ray so you can see what's going on in there.

3. A good farrier is worth his weight in gold in these situations, and my experience was that some vets think this sort of thing is quite dull. If you're not convinced by the advice you're getting, get second opinions.

4. My horse ended up with gaps in his hoof capsule where they had to let the pus out. If you find yourself in that situation, and the vet or farrier advise filling it with resin "to stabilise the hoof" definitely get a second opinion. Metal braces screwed to the outside of the hoof allow you access to keep things clean and enable drainage of any residual pus. Bar shoes of some sort for a short period can also help stabilise things as the new hoof grows down.

5. I/v and I/M antibiotics do have a place so ask about that if it rumbles on too long.

6. Talk to your farrier about what's caused the abscess in the first place. If it's not something obvious like a puncture, is there something about the foot shape or balance or the way the horse is loading his feet that has predisposed him to this. If so, you might want to consider calling in a specialist to get it sorted for the future.

7. If it persists for any length of time, the horse will probably pick up a few muscular issues, tightness, asymmetries etc. from standing on 3 legs a lot of the time, so he may appreciate some form of bodywork to help him as he recovers, maybe a nice sports massage or something.

Hopefully yours is just a one off one of those things and will resolve easily like most foot abscesses do, I wouldn't wish on any horse what my poor boy had to go through.

Very best of luck xx
 
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Thank you so much for that advice Micropony!! I really do hope he doesnt go through what your poor boy went through. My pony has had a really difficult year so I really do hope this doesnt turn into another big disaster for him. Did your pony recover fully?

xx
 

skint1

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Have you considered using magnesium sulphate as a poultice? This doesn't require wet poulticing, you just put it on some clean cotton wool near your exit hole and it draw the pus out on to it. I tried it with my mare last year when she had a rumbling abscess that came out near the coronet band and just tried it again on my new horse who got a solar abscess, both times it seems to have worked extremely effectively, though I am no expert. You can buy it at a chemist for around £2.50.
 

Micropony

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Yes he did, it took nearly a year to get him back to where he had been before the abscess, and I changed vet and farrier on the way, but he did come back better than ever. His abscess came out through the coronary band at one point, so he always had a slight weakness in that quarter of that hoof, but nothing that couldn't be managed with careful shoeing.
It's horrid at the time because they're in such agony, but I think it's very unusual for there not to be a happy ending if you stay on top of it xx
 

kassieg

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I poultice mine, vet wrap over poultice, baby nappy (for padding) over and hen vet wrap followed by plastic sacking and plenty of duck tape to hold it all on and then turn out.

In answer to your question, most horses will become sound as soon as the abscess is drained although it is not uncommon for it to be have tracked around and to rumble on for some time.
This is exactly how i do it, its even mud proof certainly for summer mud.

They are much better moving as it encourages the draining process. Also don't bute as it can stop the infection draining out :)
 

QueenDee_

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Keep hot poulticing until nothing more is coming out and then it doesn't harm to hot poultice for a day or so more to be 100% sure. One of our mares had an abscess this year and we thought we got it all out, but she came up lame again a while later and we found that it had travelled further into the hoof.

Try tubbing it in warm saltwater as this sometimes helps to kick start the drawing out process if the hole has been made but you haven't seen significant improvement (the above mare came in hopping lame, but a day or so after having had a hole dug out and foot tubbed and poulticed she was significantly better).

I also don't think theres any point keeping in, so long as the poultice is sufficiently padded and waterproofed which it sounds like it is!
 

Wimbles

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Tubbing with epsom salts, mag sulphate paste (same stuff as the salts) is fantastic for drawing out infection. I always turn out even if they are practically three legged as it helps to force out the infection and also we have found that the movement helps to maintain blood supply and promotes healing once the abscess has burst out.

I also found that popping a hoof boot over your poultice stops them wearing through the toe (as that's where they tend to walk on with an abscess).

It can take a good while to fully recover but you need to keep the poultices going until you have a good couple of days with no pus.
 

suestowford

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The padding in the poultice should offer some relief on hard ground.
Things I have learned about poulticing:
1. always go on poulticing past the point you think it's necessary as pus can be very wily about coming out. You think it's all gone, but it hasn't.
2. You can never use too much Duck Tape :)
 
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Thanks for the advice everyone, pony seems better today less lame id say! Farrier came yesterday and said it was either a small abcsess or id caught it early OR its tracked up the hoof but he doesn't think that's likely. He has advised me to dry poultice it and use less duct tape (to stop it sweating) and see if i get more puss out. This morning there was definitely more puss which I guess is a good thing!
 
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