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Discussion on Help! Won't put pressure on Front Right Leg

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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 246
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 9, 2009 - 9:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I came home today to find my horse Moose laying down in his stall under the fan. Nothing out of the ordinary for a hot humid day. He got up and wasn't putting pressure on his right front leg. He has a pulse, slight swelling in the lower leg (nothing terribly concerning), and keeps his leg extended straight with his toe pointed. Very unwilling to walk forward. My guess is abcess.I have soaked it in Epson salt, wrapped it with a soaked diaper in epson salt. Any advice?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23145
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 - 8:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Melissa, my advice for such a event is in the article First Aid for the Lame Horse. Unfortunately right now the articles are down while we change out servers. In the mean time you should carefully examine the bottom of the foot and the leg and if you remain suspicious of an abscess you should have a professional out to either your farrier or veterinarian out to examine and cut out the abscess.
DrO
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Jennifer R.
Member
Username: jjrichar

Post Number: 133
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 - 9:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Melissa, once Dr. O's articles come back up I recommend you look through them. But until then, I am hoping this will help.

Based on what you have said, it does sound like an abscess, but if you aren't sure it is always a good idea to have your vet or farrier out to take a look at it. I am assuming you have looked for obvious signs of trauma to the leg like cuts, missing hair, etc. As you probably know, abscesses are very painful and horses will do whatever they can not to put weight on that foot.

For an abscess, the first thing you need to do is pull the shoe if your horse is shod. If your farrier comes out he can use hoof testers to try and pinpoint the sore spot and maybe dig out the abscess.

Before (and probably after) the farrier comes, I usually soak in WARM water with Epsom salts for 15 minutes at least once a day, or twice a day if possible. After each soaking I take a hoof knife while the foot is softer, and gently clean around the hoof wall and sole and squeeze with my thumbs looking for a 'give' in the hoof or dark spots as sign of an abscess trying to come out. In between soaks I pack the sole with a soaked Animal Lintex pad or Icthimal drawing salve (not sure if that's spelled right). At minimum you can make a gel-like mixture of strong iodine and sugar (called sugardine) and pack that in there if you don't have the other. Sugardine also works well after and abscess has ruptured to avoid reinfection. The hoof will absorb the iodine and leaved pure white sugar behind when you take off the wrap.

Anyhow, within a few days or sooner, an abscess should come out and your horse should feel a lot better. If you happen see the abscess drain it will look like icky black liquid or ooze that will stink like crazy. Once it comes out you need to make sure the opening doesn't reseal and reinfect. This is where a farrier can help by safely digging it out and putting a shoe on. You can also pack it with sugardine for safe measure.

Hope that helps you. Good luck and let us know what happens.
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 247
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 - 3:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Jennifer and Dr. O, I'll be patiently waiting for the articles. Moose has no other suspicious areas. No cuts, scrapes, missing hair, swelling, heat, pain on palpation, nothing anywhere. The outside of his hoof is warm, he has a throbbing digital pulse and is pointing his toe. He's bearing a little more weight today but I think he was just so happy to get out of his stall and be hand walked in the pasture. I've seen alot of horses that had abscesses, so I've seen the symptoms, I've just never had to treat one myself! Lucky I guess! I have been soaking him in the salts and wrapping his hoof and am getting ready to go out to get iodine. I'm awaiting my farriers call. He takes a day or so call back and I don't trust trying someone else... it took so long to find one I like.

I'll let you know how it goes.
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 4340
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 - 4:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Melissa, I have had better luck with sugardine instead of epsom salts for poulticing and wrapping an abscess..it seemed to bring them to a head more quickly, also seemed to provide a little relief too for some odd reason.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23152
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 - 5:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Though an otherwise very good post, I disagree with Jennifers assessment that it is likely to come out in a day or two. While some may behave this way I have seen many abscesses go on for weeks until drained with a hoof knife, undermining and damaging horn all the while. For more on this see the article on Abscesses (which is up now, sorry for the delay) and in particular the part about gravels.
DrO
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Jennifer R.
Member
Username: jjrichar

Post Number: 136
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 - 5:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I apologize, and should have said that in my experience, abscesses usually come out within a few days of soaking and treatment, but that is not always the case. I have also seen what Dr. O described and have one 'run a track' around the hoof and cause months of on and off lameness before it was finally dug out (by a vet) and completely drained and treated.
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sherry stephens
New Member
Username: scanlady

Post Number: 1
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 - 11:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just went thru something like this, except it was the left front foot. We too thought it was an abscess. We soaked with Epsom salt and packed it for 5 days. Gave Bute plus antibiotic. Nothing ever happened. He could not walk well on it. Then after about 5-7 days, he started walking, not limping much at all. Nothing ever drained. Called the vet, he requested we bring him in. Took digital X-rays and found out he had navicular degeneration! He was a excellent barrel horse (now retired) that made two left turns, this is why it was his front, left. He is only 13 years old. }
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 248
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Thursday, Jun 11, 2009 - 6:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Navicular! I'm so sorry. I hope it's just an abscess. He was completely sound (he's already retired too) and then dead lame out of the blue. Like his leg was broken lame! The farrier is coming this evening...I'll let you all know.
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 249
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Thursday, Jun 11, 2009 - 7:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, the farrier just left and it was an abscess! YAY! Never thought I'd be happy about an abscess! It was at the tip of his toe and he's already walking better.

Thank you all for your advice!
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leslie645
Member
Username: leslie1

Post Number: 788
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Thursday, Jun 11, 2009 - 9:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

YAY!!
Cheerio
L
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sherry stephens
New Member
Username: scanlady

Post Number: 2
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Friday, Jun 12, 2009 - 12:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am so glad that it was an abscess!!!
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LL
Member
Username: frances

Post Number: 886
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, Jun 12, 2009 - 9:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Isn't it funny how happy we are to hear the abscess verdict! I once feared my horse had re-injured her suspensory lig - was over the moon when it turned out to be an abscess instead!

I'm sure he'll be fine in no time.
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Jennifer R.
Member
Username: jjrichar

Post Number: 149
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Friday, Jun 12, 2009 - 10:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Glad to hear that is all it was. It's amazing how much better they are after it ruptures or is dug out.
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 250
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Monday, Jun 15, 2009 - 6:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well... Moose definitely improved but stopped half way it seems. I'm soaking 2x day and keeping him wrapped with a sugardine mix but the abscess doesn't seem to be draining, he is still very sensitive when I push on his sole where the hole is and has not returned to 100% sound. Am I being impatient or should I be concerned???
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 4375
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Jun 15, 2009 - 8:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Melissa did the farrier dig it out? Sometimes they remain tender for awhile until the "hole in the sole" starts filling in...if he got it all.

Sam had a abscess in his toe a couple years ago, the vet dug it out, it was done draining, so I quit the soaks so his sole could harden up and the hole could fill in. He was tender for a couple weeks, I kept it wrapped in the sugardine for 2 weeks(12 hrs. a day) and then he was good to go!

SOO if you think the abscess is done draining, maybe stop soaking so his sole can start hardening up. JFME
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23186
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jun 15, 2009 - 8:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Possibly impatient Melissa, is your horse getting lamer? The article on abscesses explains about proper treatment and the healing process for more see, Diseases of Horses » Lameness » Diseases of the Hoof » Hoof Abscesses, Bruises, and Gravels.
DrO
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 251
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Monday, Jun 15, 2009 - 6:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Definitely not lamer Dr. O. It does appear to be done draining. It actually didn't drain alot, but there was blood initially. But I have to assume its done because nothing else has come out since about 24 hours after it was open. It is still soft around the toe and it was dug all out so it is probably sensitive. I'm just paranoid... after all he's been through he has never been like this before. I'll work on hardening the sole back up!
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 252
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 - 6:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Last night when I got home from work Moose had just got up from a nap and was lamer. I did not soak Monday night or Tuesday morning as I was trying to let his hoof harden up. He is still wrapped with the sugardine. Last night I opted to soak and he was much better. I inspected the dug out area and you can see when it had drained from. It's still pretty soft in that area (not mushy or anything just softer than the other areas) and if I push on it with my finger he responds with pain. Is that still normal? I've been giving him bute 1gm 2xday since this started. The first 3 doses were 2gms each (he's about 1700 lbs).
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23203
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 - 8:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Melissa treatment and what you should expect healing wise is carefully explained in the article I reference above on foot abscesses. However I will emphasize it is not normal for the horse to get more lame and suggests the abscess is not draining well. For more on this see the article.
DrO
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 253
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 - 10:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I suspected it was not draining, but questioned my paranoia as I thought it could just be tender/soft. Then he got worse again and I figured it was what I suspected. My farrier is coming back Friday. I feel horrible to let Moose go that long...but I do not trust trying to get another farrier, I really like mine and he's really good. I procrastinated calling him because I thought I was being...as I said paranoid...so now I have to wait.

Other than being super sensitive, he should be ok to wait right? I leave him loose, free choice to go in his stall and to go out to the pasture as he chooses. But should I keep him stalled until the farrier comes? Is there anything I can do to make him more comfortable? (he's still on bute)
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23213
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 - 8:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The most important thing is the pared out section stay clean, dry, and medicated as described in the article. Most horses would probably be most comfortable stalled but this is something you can best decide.
DrO
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 254
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Monday, Jun 22, 2009 - 6:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

OK...My farrier came out on Friday and when I opened Moose's stall door his abscess had came out above the coronet band right where the coronet band and leg connect (it was bleeding, no discharge). He gave me instructions to soak apply ichthemmol and he should be fine now. Well...by that evening it was no longer bleeding, still not draining and it's Monday and my horse is still lame and abscessed! I guess my question is, without offending my farrier, what do I ask or say? This can't keep going on like this. I really wanted to ask him to do more research on the bottom of his hoof where the abscess first was discovered but didn't want to offend his knowledge. Moose has about a 2.5" section at the top of his coronet band that is separating from his leg and looks like hamburger meat.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23242
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jun 22, 2009 - 7:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Melissa,
You say "I want to resolve this as quickly as possible so let's establish good ventral drainage". The article on abscesses covers what happens when a abscess "gravels" out the cornet band and our recommendations on treatment.
DrO
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Sharon
Member
Username: shanson

Post Number: 171
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Monday, Jun 22, 2009 - 12:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Maybe it's time to call in your vet, instead of farrier?
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 577
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Jun 22, 2009 - 2:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I agree with Sharon. When I've had abscesses, I always get the horse to the vet. They can block the foot and pare it out and establish good drainage giving immediate relief. The advantage of doing this early is that less damage is done to the interior hoof. Waiting for them to pop out may work, but at what cost? This way, my horses have always been comfortable immediately and healed without incident after following to the letter the instructions for bandaging in Dr. O's article which is the same as my vet's instructions. Be sure to pack the hole tightly to prevent tissue prolapse.
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Melissa Victorelli
Member
Username: mysi

Post Number: 255
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Sunday, Jun 28, 2009 - 10:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ok...

Dr.O, I did call my farrier and said what you suggested and he completely agreed and said he would be out that Wednesday. I got panic stricken anyway and came home at lunch to check on Moose and he was so lame, so I called my vet. (who let me say I am not so crazy about)

I had called the vet to come out before reading your posts Sharon and Julie (funny). The vet came out and after $230, he said it was definitely an abscess (DUH!) and to continue soaking and wrapping and give it a few more days and if it not cleared up he'll come back out. Clearly I could have done that without the $280 bill. I used the same line Dr. O said to say to the farrier and the vet said there was no need to do it yet. (REALLY?!!!???!!!)I'm guessing he didn't feel like wasting his time. Just like he told me my horses didn't need to be floated and the equine Dentist said they desperately needed it!

So, still not feeling good about the situation I called my old farrier in FL who knows me (and how panic stricken I get with my baby) and Moose well and he said to put an Epsom salt poultice (that green goop) on the area where it came through the coronet band and an iodine soaked cotton ball in the hole on the sole, twice a day for 3 days, wrap well and no soaking. He said it was probably trying to drain through the sole at first and because Moose has such hard fast growing hooves it likely closed up and came out the coronet band. Then the continued soaking likely tried to draw it back down and it had nowhere to go. Well...day two he was 80% sound and today is day 5 and I would say he's 95%, still sore at the toe a tad bit. So thankfully my farrier didn't have to come back out and do anything more extensive!

Thank you all for all of your good advice!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 23300
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, Jun 28, 2009 - 6:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Glad to hear things are improving Melissa.
DrO
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