“ My horse is lame and won’t get up, limping or has broken his leg!"
He has an abscess. The horse owner will see their horse out to pasture, unable to bear weight on a limb, which instills panic. To see a horse with a full-blown abscess is quit dramatic. Often he will not bear weight on the affected limb. Usually the hoof will be warm to the touch with a rapid pulse. A certified farrier is knowledgeable about abscesses and can trim out the hoof and use a pair of hoof testers to find the sore spot. Often times the farrier will bore out the abscess to relieve the pressure. It is recommended to soak in warm water and Epsom salts making sure to soak up to the coronet band. With winter weather also comes ideal conditions for abscesses to form. If the hoof becomes too dry it will crack allowing bacteria to travel up into the hoof wall and sole. Too much moisture can cause the same thing if your horse stands around in muddy damp areas. With the southeastern U.S. humidity, the morning dew is enough to cause a horse’s hoof to become too soft and sponge like. This condition is prime for dirt, bacteria and fungi to be worked through the sole and hoof walls. Once worked in, there is no way out and most of the time it will occur in the front hooves.
The grime becomes locked in and begins to fester. The fester begins brewing, creating pus and heat from the rotting flesh locked within, causing great pressure against the hoof wall. This is similar to a bruised finger or toenail on you. Anyone having experience with this can testify as to how unpleasant this is. But climate is hardly the only culprit. Riding a horse over rough, rocky terrain is a leading cause of abscesses. This is worsened if the horse is not properly shod.
Stone bruises caused these abscesses that busted out in the sole of the hoof.
Photo 2 and 3
These cracks were caused by an abscess that blowout in the hoof wall closer to the coronary band. They are now cleaned out and ready for bonding and shoes to help prevent more cracking and infections. Along with dry conditions, hoof supplements to promote healthy growth, all should be normal in 8-10 months.