|SUBSOLAR ABSCESS AFTER POPPING
|CAUSED BY PUNTURE WOUND
Abscesses are pockets of pus that form tissue breakdown,
and can occur in any part of the body, but for my website's purposes, I mean hoof abscesses. Sometimes you hear of it called
"graveled". Abscesses can form as a result of "quicking" with a nail, during shoeing, puncture wounds,
cracks, stone bruises in already weak and thin soles, chronic thrush that eats its way into the frog corium, after laminitis,
etc. The term graveled was coined because back in the day, people thought a piece of gravel actually traveled upward in the
hoof and came out at the hairline. This has never been seen, though. Just the pus, and usually you don't even see that until
it's just a dry horizontal crack growing down the hoof wall.
Abscesses can cause mild, intermittent lameness that suddenly clears up without
further symptoms beyond finding a drainage hole. Usually, though, they progress to cause severe lameness and even some detectable
heat withint the hoof. Some can be seen as dark lesions, others as mere soft spots in the sole. Hoof testers can sometimes
find the pocket, but usually, it's best left alone to pop on its own. Some horses also experience swelling in the leg, but
that is not very common.
Abscesses can be soaked to hasten their popping. Using epsom salt soaks, or apple cider
vinegar and water helps to soften the hoof capsule so the pus can find an easy way out. The ACV and water also helps to clear
up thrush or WLD (white line disease) that may have led to the abscess to begin with. However, excess moisture is generally
bad for hooves, and can make them more apt to bruise, so only soak when really needed, and provide hoof boots to protect the
I don't like to cut the abscess open. Vets seem to prefer to do so, and it does offer apparent immediate relief, but by cutting
it, the chances of reinfection are very high. The bottom of a hoof is difficult at best to keep clean, and sometimes the cut
doesn't find the abscess, or doesn't allow enough drainage. Letting it pop on its own, though, minimizes the reinfection rate,
and makes for less after care for you. It tends to drain more completely on it's own, and still offers immediate relief
when it finally pops. The use of anti -inflammatories like Bute, can take the edge off the pain, but may also slow healing,
but you have to make the call for each situation. Abscesses can be very painful, so a little pain relief may be beneficial
to keep the horse moving some, which does more to help speed healing than anything.
If a hole is cut, antibiotics will be given for several days, as well as cleaning
and bandaging the hoof, and keeping it dry. If it pops on it's own, antibiotics aren't necessary, and aside from the
usual hoof and stall cleaning, not much after care is needed. However, an abscess is a sign that something wasn't right, so
if many of your horses, or the same one over and over, have abscesses, it is time to look at the way you are keeping them,
as something isn't working.
Horses coming out of shoes are more apt to abscess at first. Their circulation
is improving, and the feet begin to heal. However, how the shoes were pulled can affect this greatly, this is why it's good
to have a professional trim your horses. Some horses with thin soles will tend to be more apt to bruise and abscess,
and horses in wet conditions suffer the most. If you decide to pull the shoes off your horses, please use hoof boots to protect
them while they adjust. Keeping up on regular trims goes a long way to prevent many, many problems, abscesses included.
Waiting beyond 4-8 weeks allows them to be weakened by their own excess length. Keep them trimmed, and they will suffer far
fewer troubles, you will miss fewer rides, and spend less on vet care. If you have a lot of hazards in your pasture, obviously
you should clean them up to prevent puncture wounds. Try to keep your pastures clean and well drained. Pick out feet regularly
to note any thrush and treat it, ditto for puncture wounds.