Abscess Problems

I am currently finding the horses in my care are developing abscess issues. I currently have two that my vet has recommended stall rest for because of the great deal of mud at the moment. The first filly didn’t present any lameness until after the abscess had burst. The second a gelding has been in the last three days, though getting exercise in the arena, he has been in to keep the other company. But pulled him out of stall this morning to find him hopping lame. Both horses have had their feet picked daily. Not just while they have been in but previously as well. I was just wondering what can be done management wise to help prevent others. Also the horses all normally live out. and in each paddock where the roundtables are is a harder area that is not muddy. Thanks in advance Michelle

Hoof abscesses can be seen in horses with long toes, thin and bruised soles or with damage to the coffin bone. A healthy hoof has a tight lamellar junction that prevents dirt or mud from creeping up into the area. When this area is compromised in horses with long toes or with laminitis debris can fester in here and develop into an abscess. These horses often do better with shoes or frequent trimming. Muddy paddocks would be a problem if this is the cause of the lameness. Thin soles are more susceptible to bruising. Much like getting a blood blister on your finger after hitting it with a heavy object the hoof bruise can be very painful. Horses with thin soles should be turned out on to soft pasture or be shod with pads. Finally we have horses that have damage to the coffin bone. This can be seen with horses with pedal osteitis or inflammation of the bone. Tiny fragments will come off of the bone. The body treats them as a foreign body and creates an abscess as a way of walling of the fragment and ultimately expelling it from the hoof. I would recommend asking your veterinarian to take x-rays of the hooves of your two horses. The xrays will reveal if the toe is too long in relation to the coffin bone, if the sole is too thin or if there is damage to the coffin bone.

Good luck.