Stockholm Tar to "plug" foot abscess

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My mare has developed a foot abscess, and I have never had a horse, or had to deal with a horse with one before so am looking for some advice and tips.

I have called the vet and he dug into the hoof to drain it and now i am poulticing it 3 times a day with a warm animalinex poultice to draw out the infection along with a prescribed course of anti biotics and some bute. Its only been 2 days but she doesn't seam to be showing much improvement, and there is quite a lot of blood mixed in the the puss (sorry to be so graphic) but i was wondering if this was normal?

When the poultice looks clear for 2 days and shes looking less lame, I've been advised to "plug" the hole, with Stockholm tar and cotton wool. What exactly does this mean, do i put the cotton wool in first and use the tar to seal it? or mix the tar and the cotton wool and paste it in the hole? or should i just use the tar by itself. I am guessing i use the tar to seal the drainage whole to prevent further infection while the hoof underneath grows back and repairs?

If she looks totally sound, can she be turned out again, if the hole is sealed with the tar, or will she need a bandage or boot on top too?

Thanks in advance for any help, advice or tips
Emma-Louise :)
 

Archie73

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Hi, from reading your post my best advice would be to call the vet back who attended and ask them. That's what you paid them for:)
 

Miss L Toe

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My mare has developed a foot abscess, and I have never had a horse, or had to deal with a horse with one before so am looking for some advice and tips.

I have called the vet and he dug into the hoof to drain it and now i am poulticing it 3 times a day with a warm animalinex poultice to draw out the infection along with a prescribed course of anti biotics and some bute. Its only been 2 days but she doesn't seam to be showing much improvement, and there is quite a lot of blood mixed in the the puss (sorry to be so graphic) but i was wondering if this was normal?

When the poultice looks clear for 2 days and shes looking less lame, I've been advised to "plug" the hole, with Stockholm tar and cotton wool. What exactly does this mean, do i put the cotton wool in first and use the tar to seal it? or mix the tar and the cotton wool and paste it in the hole? or should i just use the tar by itself. I am guessing i use the tar to seal the drainage whole to prevent further infection while the hoof underneath grows back and repairs?

If she looks totally sound, can she be turned out again, if the hole is sealed with the tar, or will she need a bandage or boot on top too?

Thanks in advance for any help, advice or tips
Emma-Louise :)
Who has advised you to plug the hole?
I would keep poulticing for another two weeks or it stops leaking pus.
If you plug it it will not be able to drain.
Most abscesses are not treated with antibiotics, but your vet may have his own ideas.
You need to poultice at least once every 24 hours.
Most vets advise tubbing [you may need assistance if a novice] with Epsom Salts [the stuff in Animalintex] or salt solution.
I used to use a dandy brush dipped in salt water to clean the area before applying a new dressing. It is essential to inspect the area. It is also essential to examine the poultice after use. You want the exudate to lessen day on day.
I would phone your vet for advise tomorrow, he has not clearly explained your role in the treatment.
There is normally no reason to use Bute, as if the pressure has been released the horse will not be in pain.
I would say it is not normal for blood to still be running out, it should only be pus, but I think you should phone the vet with your concerns.
 
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My vet advised me too, but AFTER the poultice is clear for a good 2 days (6 changes of poultice), I'm just thinking ahead so i know what to expect, a few weeks down the line. I am changing the poultice, morning, lunch time and in the evening, and each time cleaning the entire area thoroughly before positioning the next poultice. To be honest its definitely the period of time after the poulticing but before the hole has closed up that's concerning me the most.

She is on antibiotics, as her leg has swollen and the vet thinks this may be due to an infection traveling up her leg from the abscess. The vet also put her on bute, as although stuff is draining from her foot, there is still a lot of puss (and a bit blood) on the poultice so there is still pressure there, and she is still obviously in pain as she will not put any weight on her effected leg- at least this is what i thought.

I'll ring my vet again tomorrow, I spoke to him today and he reassured me that i was doing everything right, and I needn't be to concerned at the moment.

Thanks again.
 

charliecrisps

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My vet advised me too, but AFTER the poultice is clear for a good 2 days (6 changes of poultice), I'm just thinking ahead so i know what to expect, a few weeks down the line. I am changing the poultice, morning, lunch time and in the evening, and each time cleaning the entire area thoroughly before positioning the next poultice. To be honest its definitely the period of time after the poulticing but before the hole has closed up that's concerning me the most.

Thanks again.
When it is clear for two days (no puss or blood) then plug. Cotton wool with stockholm tar. Should be okay for turn out... mine was.

Although i got my farrier to plug personally and he doesnt use stockholm tar, used keratex putty!
 
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would you put the cotton wool inside the hole, with the tar on top ? or the tar in first or mix it up together? Will it need changing, or will it just grow out as the hoof repairs itself? and does the tar need time to set, as i hear its a very sticky hoof oil type substance when you 1st put it on?

When it is clear for two days (no puss or blood) then plug. Cotton wool with stockholm tar. Should be okay for turn out... mine was.

Although i got my farrier to plug personally and he doesnt use stockholm tar, used keratex putty!
 

be positive

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Usually once the foot is opened to release the abscess the horse is more comfortable and should become sound fairly quickly. Soaking in a tub of hot salt water each time you change the dressing will help speed up draining.

I usually turn out in a dry dressing for a few days once it has stopped draining as the movement will encourage any left behind to come out rather than plugging it. Wrapping in duct tape will keep it dry and clean while they are out and the foot will grow back fairly soon to fill the hole or get your farrier to put a pad on if it is very deep.
 
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Its only been 2 days, but my horse doesn't seam any more comfortable on her affected leg, despite the abscess draining, do you think its necessary to get the vet out again to check in case there is a secondary abscess or an under lying problem. Or do you think am asking for to big a result to quickly, and think I should give it another good few days before getting the vet out to take another look?

Like I say talking to him over the phone he doesn't seam to concerned, but I am; I think its just cause I have no experience with abscesses, and just don't no what to expect.
 

be positive

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They usually sigh with relief once it is open and are often immediately almost sound, although I always get my farrier to deal with abscesses as they do a better job in my opinion.
I am surprised yours is no better lameness wise after two days if it is open and draining, the lameness is caused by the pressure rather than the abscess, if it was an infection in any other area it would just swell up and may be sore but often not really causing them to be lame.
If no better and the draining stops it may need further investigation, hopefully in a day or two it will improve.
 

glenruby

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It's not uncommon for a horse to still be very sore after the abscess has first been drained - but she shouldnt be non weight bearing. Also those cases are usually the ones that ate not entirely straightforward. When you say there is a lot of pus draining- how much? Is it white or black? The swollen leg is what I'd want to keep an eye on- is it hot? Or just filled?
 

Miss L Toe

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Her leg is really swollen, but they often swell up when she's on box rest.... She's a real mystery at times !
Yes, but are they both swollen to the same extent, if the infection has caused problem further up then this is why vet has given a course[I assume it is a daily dose] of antibiotics , it can usually take four days so after five if not improving you may need more, I assume vet has taken all this in to consideration. At the moment you are waiting for it to improve. Plenty of salt water and fingers crossed.
As this looks like a relatively long term abscess, you might consider bandaging both front legs for support. This is a skilled job, so ask someone to advise, a lot of people use tubiflex for the support part, then wrap a stable bandage on fairly loose, that is to say not "tight"
It is important to get the tension correct and to change twice a day, you should be able to push a finger down inside the bandage without great difficulty.
You might be able to take her for little walks in hand if she is not lame. Again it is best to consult the vet, but also use common sense. If she can have a walk about this must help circulation.
 
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Amymay

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OP only hot poulitce for a max of three days - and then change to dry poultice. Also try and get the horse out - moving around will help not only with the draining of the abcess but keeping the leg down.

You'll have to fashion something watertight around the foot - plastic bag, duck tape etc.

Once you've finished with the dry poultice you can then apply the cotton wool and stockholm tar to plug the whole.
 

Jnhuk

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When one of my lad's had problems with abscesses several years ago after keeping ripping off shoes and standing on the nails :(

It got so bad the vets were almost talking about referring him to the local equine hospital to get hoof section/cast? Thankfully after intervention by my farrier, it cleared but we were left with quite a hole which my farrier suggested packing with sheeps wool and stockholm tar. He also had a plastic insert made to fit inside his shoe to keep things clean.

Get a box of disposable gloves - stockholm tar is very messy and goes everywhere!
 

Miss L Toe

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If you walk her out you will see if she is weight bearing, she will be hopping lame if not, and also she will not let you lift the sound leg to pick out the hoof.
Make sure she has plenty of bedding, not standing on concrete, this will make her more comfortable and allow her to rest most easily. She may also want to lie down a lot more.
You could speak to the farrier, it might be better to remove both front shoes in the interim. As to packing with stockhome tar, it is messy, farrier may have some other cure but I would leave both shoes off for a while and use a duck tape poultice for a few days. If you shoe the foot in order to pack and hold the tar [say with a plastic pad] , you are then unable to examine foot every day, and it will either get better, or worse, in which case you have to start all over again.
I would take her temperature twice a day, to see if she has an infection, and if it is improving, obviously you will also have an idea if it suddenly gets worse as the temperature will jump two degrees. This is the only other thing I can suggest at the moment.
 
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ILuvCowparsely

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with hoof abscess you want to hot poultice x 2 a day and tub foot until no more pus coming out after that dry poultice for a further 4-5 days.,

Has you vet checked the pulse ?? This is a clear sign of things not right .

use Stockholm tar with cotton wool you get wool poor tar on or cover the wool with tar then plug the hole up . Also I would recommend putting a nappy on and duck tape to finish off. This way she can go out without the plug coming out or the foot getting wet

I have always once the hole is dry and has a skin, always plug the hole with cotton wool and Stockholm tar .
 
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TigerTail

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If shes still hopping lame and oozing pus ask for Pen and Strep to inject for 5 days. Make sure you do the whole 5 days though else she will become immune to the anti biotics. The injection works quicker than powders in feed.

I wouldnt use S. Tar myself, its vile stuff. Id be using Red Horse Hoof Stuff which is medicating so cleans whilst its in the hole but wont prevent the hoof being able to breath or poison it with toxins.
 

Victoria25

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Hi there
Poor you, abscesses are such a pain the bum!
I’d deffo speak to the vet if needy is still lame – could be something else? I’ve only ever seen blood from an abscess on my TB – when we got him, his feet were in v bad condition and has very thin soles and when vet was cutting out abscess it bled a little but this was only for say 2 days max.
Hot poultice is to draw out infection – do this until you see no more smelly gunk!
Once clear I’d dry poultice for a few more days just to make sure its all out plus will give food time to dry out a bit!
How big is the hole? I usually slap a load of keratx putty into the hole if it’s 100% cleared up and horse is sound …
If still draining can you turn out to help drain it – gives circulation? Just poultice like normal, cover with nappy (baby grow pants are best as they’re already hoof shaped!), wrap in self stick bandage and wrap with duct tape … a good idea is to go to your local car garage and ask for any damaged tyres (for free) and cut it up and use as extra protection so foot doesn’t go through and keeps waterproof!
 

CBFan

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Abscesses can be a complete pain to clear up! I really feel for you.

I would basically echo what some of the others have said and continue to hot poultice TWICE a day - 3 times really isn't necessary. Hot tubbing it with epsom salts each time you change the poultice. Give the foot a good scrub each time with a sterile brush too. ... I can also reccomend driping some tea tree oil in the hole and or poultice - it's a great natural astringent. Once you have no gunk on your poutice, you need to swap to a dry poultice for a few days (3 or 4) - this is because the sole will have got very soft with the hot poultices so you need to dry it out. You can continue with the tea tree oil here if you want.

After this stage, Stockholm tar is great - just dip the cotton wool into it then squeeze it firmly into the hole. You will need to change this daily / twice daily as it will get dirty... should only be needed for a few days... :)
 
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