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Hoof Care Basics: Learning To Tackle A Hoof Abscess

A hoof abscess can be very uncomfortable for your horse. And it can lead to the situation worsening if not dealt with quickly. So, here’s your handy guide to hoof abscess and what you should do about it:

First up, what is a Hoof Abscess?

A hoof abscess is usually an infection in the hoof caused by moisture and bacteria at a place which has been injured by a sharp object. As a reaction to the infection, pus is formed. The pressure created by this pus can become uncomfortable, cause pain and even cause your horse to refuse to use the affected leg.

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Usually abscesses are at the sole, but when the pus gets pushed, it will take the path of least resistance and can even work its way up to the coronary band or the bulb heels and break out at these places. In this case it causes injury to the hoof.

The best thing to do is to treat it as early as possible and release the pus. However, to treat it you need to first be able to identify that the horse has one. And to help you do that, here are…

The Symptoms of a Hoof Abscess

Here are a few signs that can help you understand:

  • If your horse is suddenly showing signs of lameness or a reluctance to put weight on a particular foot.
  • The infection can also cause swelling or heat in the limb.
  • The swelling usually happens in the tendons of the affected limb.
  • The horse can also develop a low grade fever or even heightened digital pulse.

And as for…

Cleaning out and disinfecting the hoof abscess

Check out how to find the hoof abscess and letting out the pus in this video:

Of course it is not enough to identify the abscess and let the pus out. You also need to disinfect the area. And to do that, here’s what you need to do:

  • Dissolve Epsom salt in a bucket or trough of warm water to the point of saturation.
  • Now dip the affected hoof in this bath and keep it submerged. This will disinfect the abscess and may also cause it to erupt if you haven’t already managed to draw the pus out already.
  • Now use a soaked abscess poultice pad or a mixture of iodine and Epsom salt or use an Epsom salt poultice gel to cover the entire sole.
  • Use a sheet cloth or a clean diaper to cover the entire hoof and then use duct tape to tightly wrap the covering in place. Take care to not restrict blood flow to the hoof though.
  • Such a poultice kept for about 24 hours should do the trick.

To ensure that abscesses do not happen or are identified and diagnosed at the earliest, you should pick your horse’s hoof every day. Hoof care should be an important part of your daily horse care schedule if you want to care aptly for hoof abscess. A healthy horse is a happy riding companion for you as well!

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