How long does a foot abcess take to clear up? :(

smallgirl

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26 August 2005
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I posted about a month ago about my horse who had come in very lame and it turned out he had an abcess in his foot, the vet came out and dug it out on day 5 (I didn't realise it was an abcess), then a few days after that he went sound and no pus was coming out so I started to turn him out again.

On the 2nd day of turnout he came in hopping lame again, I got the farrier to come out and have another dig, he didn't find any other abcesses but dug the orinal one back a bit further and made a drainage hole, he came sound in a couple of days, and has been sound ever since (about 3 weeks) I am poulticing it (dry) twice a day and iodining the hole but the pus is still coming out, I'm going to phone the vet tomorrow.

I'm curious to know if this is normal for an abcess to be going on so long, wold it be to do with me not catching it early enough so it festered away for 2/3 days before I started poulticing it. Such a bad mum


Could someone put my mind at rest as at the moment I'm just about sick of it not getting better, I have no idea how long this is going to take but it seems quite a long time already.

Thanks very much for any advice, just to add my horse thinks this is briliant, he has an unlimited supply of hay, a servant to do whatever he wants for him and unlimited tlc. Spoilt brat....
 

onemoretime

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Have you tried putting his foot in a bucket of hot salt water - if he will let you. I had a lot of abscess's with my old mare, she was so good she would stand with her foot in a bucket for an hour if need be. I then turned her out with an animalintex pad inside a canvas hoof boot. In all it would take about 10 days. You need to keep the hole clean so if you turn him out make sure he wears a boot. The hole closes up very quickly so I expect your farrier cut quite a large hole to drain it. Years ago they used to plug it with Stockholm tar and cotton wool or towing which you dont see now. The tar acted as an anticeptic.

I hope your boy comes right soon keep us posted.
 

smallgirl

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Thanks trot345, I hot salt water it once a day for about 20 mins at a time, the hole is still open, I squeeze the hoof around it to make the pus move (ewww!) before I do this to help keep it clear.

What boot did you use to turn out in? I got one that was made of canvas with reinforced bottom but he went through it on the 2nd day.

Its funny we use to blue tack holes up when I was younger too, but at the moment I can't do that as its still draining.

Does anyone think antibiotics would be a good idea? I'll mention it to the vet tomorrow but I'm wary of it making it seems like it has healed up when ther might be a bit of muck left in there. I'm getting hydrogen peroxide tomorrow to have a go at flushing the hole out, I have been using Iodine until now.
 

PapaFrita

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It's possible the abscess is tracking up along the wall of the hoof. Peroxide is a good idea; get a little syringe and swoosh it up there. The other possibility (and this happened to PF) is that there are several 'bubbles' of pus in the foot that need to be opened up. PF's abscess got into her pedal bone and her foot had to be opened up and the bone scraped. Then she had a shoe with a metal plate put on and I had to plug the hole twice a day with iodine soaked gauze. Sounds horrible but she made a full and uneventful recovery and has been fine ever since. Perhaps at this stage you should push for x-rays?
Antibiotics are not a good idea until you've located all the pus and it's found a way to get out. They just won't work.
Oh, and as for making a boot; wrap foot in gamgee, then vetwrap, then bind the whole thing in duct tape. Lots and lots and lots of it on the sole and Bob's your uncle
 

smallgirl

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So I had a very careful poke at the hole this evening and it has opened up. PF I think you are right, it has been several small holes that couldn't cope with the draining, I am hoping that the new one hole is better for it.

Please don't think I was gouging at his foot, I sterilized a knife and used the tip of it very carefully to cut away tiny bits of dead hoof to open it up.
I put a syringe full of iodine up it to flush it out, this should hold until tomorrow when the peroxide comes.

PF I'm with you on the antibiotics too, I'm going give it a couple of days on the peroxide regime and see how he fares.

Thanks for the idea for the boot, I have been using duct tape over the vetwrap as a boot for his 10 mins turnout in the morning and evening, I love the stuff!...
 

RedRed

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17 November 2007
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Vet wrap and duct tape is what i used also the Stockholm tar aerosol, bloomin hard work getting the poltice off!, did the job thou
 

proudwilliam

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Our horse's foot abscess also took a long time 4 weeks so far, and had several holes. We used duct tape{ God help us if the manufacturers find out horse people use it the price will rocket} and vet rap. . We put vasoline or sudocream on the heels to prevent rubbing.
 
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my old horse (17hh warmblood) had the same problem..he was even referred to a vet school with the foot abcess as he showed no signs..didnt react to nerve blocks, foot tests or anything. it was only found on the 3rd day when the vet took his shoe off for xrays and pus poured out. Have you tried wet poulticing?...cut a piece of animalintex to the size and shape of your horse's hoof (an old shoe is brilliant to use as a guide)..soak it in warm water and put onto his foot..pack his hoof with cotton wool and bandage with vet wrap. we found a brilliant rubber turn out boot at a local tack shop..although we couldnt use one as his foot was too big..id recommend trying one
good luck..fingers crossed for a speedy recovery
 

smallgirl

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26 August 2005
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162
Thanks for the replies, I redressed his foot last night and was surprised to see quite a bit of blood on the pad, but more importantly no pus, after a good soak in hot salt water I syringed hydrogen peroxide up the hole, it fizzed a lot and think it stung a bit, bless him he is so good, all he did was tense a little bit.

I have had to go back to dry poulticing as his sole was beginning to crumble from the wet poultices, I just hope its starting to heal when I take the bandage off tonight.

I think I'm going to leave him in until it has pretty much healed or I can at least pad the hole with cotton wool or blue tack, the ground up here is frozen solid and there's no grass so to speak, he's been an angel in the stable, he has been turned out for 30 mins each evening and I walk him in the morning and he seems quite content.

Ditto the duct tape, if they ever knew what it really gets used for!

FIngers crossed its looking good tonight.....
 

smallgirl

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26 August 2005
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Well there was a bit of gunge on the pad last night but not smelly so fingers crossed its on the mend. He had it soaked and hydroge peroxided again, think it stung again but cleared the hole nicely.

Does anyone know how long I can use or should use hydrogen peroxide before I begin to interfere every day with the healing process?
 
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