Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's An Abscess

Who would guess (who that doesn't own horses, that is) that an abscess would cause a horse so much pain. They really do present themselves like they have a broken leg.

The farrier came today and, within a milisecond, found the abscess on old Red. It looks like it came from a nail puncture on the toe of his hoof. My best guess, and that's all that I can do is guess, is that the mud worked up an old nail--probably from the original construction of the barn. A nail that, otherwise, would have been buried under the hard dirt.

Now, looking back, it all seems obvious, of course. (Hindsight) I could see a dot of red that looked like blood working it's way up, and he winced and pulled away when I tapped that area with the hammer. Hmmmm....

He cut a tiny bit into it and it started to drain. I packed it with sugardine (sugar and iodine) and wrapped it with duct tape. Wrapping hooves with duct tape really does seem like a Redneck ("You might be a Redneck if....") thing to do, but it's also what those expensive vets do if you call them out. Yep. I was surprised as anyone to see my vet wrap my horse's hoof with duct tape. I mean, don't you have any fancy Vet type thing to put on it?!? Nope, just one more use for duct tape.

Do you know how much my farrier charged me for this work? "0."

Oh, and guess what, I found a Veterinarian who lives close to me who agreed to sell me Banamine. I won't tell you who that Vet is for fear that they lose their license. After all, super-expensive Motrin for horses is a scurge on our great country. Right? Nevermind the dealers who sell Meth, and Marijuana, and Crack to our youth--let's go after horse owners (or Vets who sell to them) who want to give their horses a little aspirin! (That will be my last vent (ie. sarcasm) on that point for a while).

I have a confession: I jumped up and down for joy like a school kid when he found the abscess. It was like I'd just chose the $1,000,000 suitcase on Deal or No Deal. I'm so attached to these horses despite all I do to tell myself they're just horses, they're fragile, they're prone to accidents...blah, blah. In reality, my heart breaks to think about losing any of them.

That's just something I've got to live with.

Thanks for all your good wishes, everyone!! And, I hope your day is as good as mine is now!


  1. Yay! Yeah..duct tape is good stuff. I need to remember to add some to my first aid kit in my trailer. It could come in handy for a multitude of things.

    My vet sells me Banamine and Bute too, and I also agree that this it's silly to be only obtainable through a prescription.

    An abscess is one of the best diagnoses to hear, isn't it?

  2. Yes, it is very good to hear--a huge relief. He is 29--so you never know what will happen day to day, but at least it won't be a broken something. Get that duct tape!

  3. Abscesses do look bad - glad that one was easy to find - hope it heals up OK. I always keep duct tape on hand for just this sort of thing!

  4. I'm glad an abscess is a good thing, I guess as opposed to much worse injuries/illnesses. Easily cured then? Hooray :)

    P.S. Did you know they film Deal or No Deal in CT now? About 45 minutes from my house. A little tv trivia for you.

  5. Hi Kate. You're right--I was lucky that it was so easy to get at. He got instant relief, and I did, too. Sounds like you're an old pro with the duct tape. If it works, it works!

  6. Joanne--Yes, isn't that funny that blood and pus is a good thing in the horse world? We're an odd lot. Manure is also a good thing--lack of it means colic and colic is the number one killer of horses. Abscesses are very easy to cure once they either blow out or, like in this case, are dug out. Instant relief for the horse.

    I didn't know that bit of trivia! Have you ever tried to get on Deal or No Deal since it's so close?

  7. I am so glad you found the problem and are able to treat it. What a wonderful farrier! I would have kissed him!

  8. So happy to hear that you found out what was wrong! Red will be relieved now!
    Abcesses are such a pain in the butt and so painful!

  9. Judy--that's funny!

    Paint Girl--Abscesses are amazingly painful. His is not done yet. He's still limping around. I'm trying to pull it out with the sugardine and I'm letting him walk around out in the pasture, but he's still limping. I hope this is over soon!

  10. I am so glad to hear it was something simple - I like duct tape and carpet pad samples - When I had Tekoa he had a few abscess on one foot and was very ouchy so I cut up a carpet pad sample and then duct taped it to his foot and he walked around just fine. Good thing I work in the flooring industry - so if you ever need carpet pad for that extra cushion let me know :)

  11. Now that is a GOOD idea, Tina. I think I'm going to try it. I have some left over carpeting around here I could cut. Maybe that's why he's still favoring it so much since the ouch area is on the toe end.

  12. Good for your farrier!
    Many years ago I had a horse with laminitis. My vet X-Rayed his hoof we saw that the coffin bone had rotated down. He wanted to put my horse to sleep right there and then! I was stunned because he was perfectly healthy otherwise and the DX and 'final solution' suggestion came so quick. I talked to another vet, who talked to my farrier. My farrier made a hard pad and shod him with it. Soon as the pad was on my horse could walk with no lameness. He was a lovely horse and it still bothers me that the vet wanted to end his life so quickly. He made me feel guilty and cruel for not putting him down when he suggested it. I remember him saying thing's like, "He can get up now, but soon he won't be able to". After awhile my farrier didn't use the pad anymore when he shod him. I never rode him on rocky ground and he remained sound. We never used that vet again.

  13. OH!!! It drives me CRAZY that vets will not sell some products!! It doesnt make any sense! People can damage their horses a thousand ways from Sunday if they want too without using drugs to do it! How about feeding moldy hay and grain? How about feeding WAY too much? Or riding them over dangerous ground? It is a money grab! Pure and simple.

    It is amazing how bad abscesses can get! Almost as amazing as the number of ways that different horsemen treat them!

  14. Arlene--That's pretty bad! I don't trust vets with hooves--it's not their area. They don't get enough education in vet school to understand them. My farrier has done it for 35 years, I'll go with him. My farrier even disagrees with the way they handled Barbaro--he thinks they could have supported the other hind hoof better and kept him from getting laminitic. I don't know--I just look at the results and go with what's best for the horse. You kind of have to get tough-skinned, don't you?

    AHCM--I couldn't have said it better! It's like so many other things in life, special interests get involved and become "experts". My farrier was saying there are some among the DVM who are pushing to regulate farrier--a vet would have to oversee and regulate them! He said he'd get out of the business if that happens. (But he doesn't foresee it happening anytime soon.) Still, scary! Isn't Europe more tough with the regulations? I heard that somewhere. Hope it doesn't happen here!

    I agree with you--there are many different ways to treat abscesses and other things.

  15. Non-horse people always look at you funny when you mention duct tape in your first aid kit. And really, I thought we were the only ones to use sugar and betadine - never heard it called sugardine either. Even our horse friends thought our old vet, Doc, had lost his mind when he encouraged us to use it on a mare we had with a horrible cut above her hoof. So glad to have found some other horse people!

  16. GunDiva--I don't hear of too many people using sugardine either, but more than I would have thought--usually the ones who have been around for a while. And, duct tape, as you may have read from the other comments, is our popular preferred choice of wrap! (They should make it in pink and sell it in the equine aisle.)


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