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BuddyRooShmancyNShy

Recurrent Hoof Abscesses

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I am posting on GCC because lots of people don't go to the hoof board or to debate but they DO come here to GCC and I'd like YOUR thoughts on this.

No judgment...just really want to know your thoughts.

Since I've started trimming, I guess i'm a lot more AWARE of the hoof issues people are having with their horses. One of the recurrent ones is abscess.

In MOST of the cases where horses are having abscesses on a regular basis, what I've noticed is that they have very long trimming schedules (going 6-8+ weeks), in the winter they often trim even less than that, and then they spend all of spring/summer nursing through these things.

If YOU are a person whose horse has recurrent abscesses, would you be so brave as to comment on your (real) trimming/shoeing schedule in the months proceeding your "trouble" times, your normal horse keeping (stalled, out, mud, dry, whatever), and add any other pertinent details?

In oh, 99.9% of the cases that I'VE been involved with, I'm pretty sure that the abscesses are a result of waiting too long between trims and then separation occurs. While that trimming schedule works most of the year, when it comes to muck season (Spring!), the bacteria and fungi have an easier time getting in when there is already separation hence a lot of the "spring" and early summer abscess isssues.

I also think that possibly there are a lot of horses having mild cases of laminitis as a result of IR or Cushings undiagnosed/untreated who seem to be more affected during seasonal changes.

Again...not judging. I'm just trying to clarify in my OWN MIND what some of the contributing factors may be.

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Great PSA Broo! I think that plain and simple hoof mechanics can have an impact on a hoof abscessing or not as well! Before I started trimming my own my horses would have a little blow out hole here and there, sometimes on more than one foot at a time! Though only one ever had any lameness, I always thought it was highly odd. When I started trimming my own it was September, two of my horses had blowout holes on their bars. One took a good 6 months to grow out!

My horses got trimmed every 4-6 weeks, and still do under my care, so lack of care wasnt the issue, I think just improper trimming was to blame. If the hoof mechanics are all screwed up its going to cause all sorts of problems!

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Thanks for chiming in Aud! I'm almost afraid that I'll jinx it when I say that I've NEVER dealt with a hoof abscess in one of my own horses. I guess that's one reason that I'm so intrigued by the fact that some seem to accept it as a normal 2,3,4,5,6+ per year occurrence! I'd like to UNDERSTAND.

Again, not judging anyone.

My mom's friend had issues EVERY spring/summer. For YEARS! When I started asking questions and encouraging a more frequent trim, guess what? no abscesses all last year.

I really do think that sometimes the frequency is what does it.

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Slider is prone to abscesses. I believe that we are on an 8 week schedule in the winter, I'll admit to not really paying attention :ashamed0002: I look at the calendar and go, "Oh I guess the shoer is coming out!" Would it surprise me if that were the problem? Not really. But we were getting trimmed every 4 weeks and he was still getting them. He will get them year round too. But yes, usually during mud season he gets them more frequently. He is in a stall with a MUDDY run in (during this time of year at least) He will go out in the indoor during the winter, and out in a paddock in the spring/summer/fall.

We tried a "natural trimmer" and while he did a nice trim, and was great with Slider, he had some funky ideas, and wanted to do some radical stuff to his foot that I was not comfortable with. He essentially wanted to cut a crack out of his hoof and leave him with a "camel toe" with no shoe on, or any protection for at least 6 months. Um...no. My horse is klutzy. He would have ripped half his foot off in days. So we went groveling back to the shoer. I don't know of any other reputable trimmers locally, and I am not comfortable attacking it on my own without someone standing over my shoulder and telling me what to do.

I hope this novel helped some.

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I am afraid to say it as well, but I've never had a horse with a lameness causing abscess either. Growing up, the horses were trimmed every 8 weeks. We had as many as 15 Mini's, my Welsh cross pony and a 16.1 hand Appy. Since then I've had 9 other horses and no abscesses in any of them. I have them trimmed every 6 weeks now, thought they went 8 weeks a couple of times over this past winter due to the horrendous weather. I've had probably 6 different farriers for those 9 horses over the years. I've moved a lot. I'm sure some have been better than others. Oh and I don't pick hooves as often as I should. :confused0024: Dumb luck?

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Our gelding Biscuit is prone to getting abcesses. Usually only one foot at a time.

We are every 8 weeks year round. I have noticed that Biscuit only gets abcesses after we go out on long trail rides. Whether he is barefoot or shod he will get at least one.

He is never lame from them and I often don't even know he's had one until I see where it came out of his hoof.

Like today, I noticed that Biscuit's left front had a crack on the inside wall about an inch from the coronary band. I went ahead and put Itchmal (sp?) and wrapped it to get any thing left in there out.

Edited to say~~We rode almost 2 weeks ago on a not so bad trail but it was the first time he's been rode for a little over 3 hours straight since October. The only time we shoe him is when we are going to ride on rough/rocky trails. Otherwise he is barefoot.

Edited by jackie2925

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For those of you who have responded...how are you chosing trim times?

For me, 8 weeks is at least 3-4 weeks longer than I'm willing to wait. Who is encouraging that timeline? Have you ever tried a shorter timeline and if so, did you have the same issues? If so, have you tried any other options (boots, shoes?)

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When I was young, 8 weeks was the recommended schedule. It's just what everyone did and the farrier just automatically rescheduled for 8 weeks. Now, it seems everyone recommends 6 weeks. And I do see the difference. I'm not comfortable with them going 8 week anymore, since they start looking to me like they need a trim at around the 6 week point. I would honestly like to have Rommie, who has crappy hooves that chip easily, done every 4 weeks. However, I can't really justify the cost since she is not ridden and has never been lame or even sore. Not to mention that my farrier comes from an hour away and I don't think I could ask him to come do a single horse, on a different schedule, for only the price of a trim.

Edited by ExtraHannah

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My big gray arabian is IR and had mega absesses untill I put him on Triple Crown Low Starch with added magnesium which brings the blood sugar level down. He is barefoot and trimmed every 6 weeks same as always for the past 10 years. He has foundered many times before the magnesium being added. A good way to clear up an absess faster, is to shoot pennicillin directly into the absess after soaking in epsom salts. Shortens up the healing by 50%.

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I have only dealt with one abcess so far personally that made a lame horse. Said horse was turnedout and way overdue for a trim. He was brought home on 3 legs from pasture and I did an emergency trim. He blew the abcess that night and was 95% sound the next day and 100 % sound in probably 3 days.

It was in his heel and the heel had underrun and held it in as far as I could tell. So def lack of trim caused.

I occasionally see places on horses where abcesses have come out. Its usually on horses im just starting to trim or horses kept in wet conditions.

So in conclusion, I think you are right on the money Broo.

I wanted to edit and say this is for barefoot trimmed horses for my comments. I think shoes bring a whole nother array of abcess causing possibilities such as carving out the sole and nail holes causing an in for infections etc etc. Shod horses abcessing will depend largely on how the farrier does his job, quality of foot and depth of sole etc etc etc.

Edited by Trinity

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We do 8 weeks because my paint mare doesn't really have enough growth to do much in 5-6 weeks. She has small petite feet.

Biscuits grow like on Miracle Grow or something whether he is barefoot or shod.

And Pedro well he's new so we aren't sure what to do with him. Right now he is 5 weeks but this is his 1st scheduled trim with us and he came to me with rotation. So the 5 week thing is to re-evaluate and do more xrays with the vet and farrier on site.

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I'm at a boarding barn that mainly uses one shoer. He's extremely busy, so there is no getting him out for me alone sooner. Trust me, I've tried. I could switch, but it's going to make things weird in the barn, and I honestly can't think of anyone I like better. From working at the other barn, I know quite a few local farriers and am not impressed with the lot. Some do very good jobs but are very unreliable time wise, which is not do able for me.

And...when we were getting trimmed more frequently, I didn't see any difference. Still got an abscess or two during that time.

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I have had my horse going on 6 years. The first four he was shod and trimmed by farriers. Generally waiting 6-8 weeks between shoes/trims. The past two years he has been barefoot trimmed, and the past 12 months were by me at 4-6 week intervals.

We experienced our first abscess this past December. In the past 12 months there was only once time were I lapsed and let him go beyond 6 weeks. And that was earlier in the year. I don't know what cause his abscess, and I hope this isn't going to be reoccurring.

All that being said, I have seen other horse owners have multiple abscesses, and it seemed like they were being trimmed/shod by a farrier at 6-8 week intervals. So I think hoof/length, trim times, and subsequent separation does directly correlate to the number/occurrences of abscesses. Additionally, the way that farriers leave a sharper edge on the hooves, vs. the rounding that a barefoot trimmer does on the edges, I think also correlates. From my horse's experiences, his hooves crack after 6 weeks under a farriers' trim, and I think the cracks also correlate, the way you described separation correlating.

So in short, all judgment aside, I agree with your assessment Broo

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Mine had 2 abscesses once. September of 2007. Not long before US Nationals. The vet cleared him to go, but they were not fully healed and he bombed big time. I should have never put him on that trailer. [surrender] Yeah, hindsight is 20/20. It was a lesson that cost me thousands and I'll never forget it.

He gets trimmed/shod every 6-8 weeks. I think ONE time we went 9 weeks. He was last done Feb 12th. I actually posted pics, because we did a photo shoot for our farrier to make an ad with. He's looking slightly long now, so he will get done again in the beginning of April instead of the middle. Then it will be a game of chance when to do him before the show May 21-23.

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knock on wood the only abscess I've ever dealt with was due to a puncture in the sole of the foot. Horse was off for two weeks, then when three legged lame for three days. On the fourth day the abscess popped at the cornet band and she was fine.

I to used to trim every 8 weeks. Was the norm. Then I got a horse that if you went a day over 6 weeks he'd start chipping hoof off the top of his shoes. 6 - 8 weeks was normal till I went to doing mine myself and now it's 2 - 4 weeks apart.

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I have only personally had one horse get a abscess and it was this spring. She had shoes when I purchased her and I have been transitioning her to barefoot. I believe hers was due to having separation on that particular foot and her walking on the ice/snow we had. I was picking hooves 3-4x's a day for more than a week to prevent it. Out of my 9 horses here she is the only one who had a issue. My horses are all trimmed every 4-5 weeks. I think longer trimming times defiantly invite abscesses as the whiteline usually stretches and you usually have separation.

But just my experience,

MMN

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My gelding used to go 8-10 weeks between trims. Never had any issues with abscesses or anything. Only time he was lame was when he was on a 4-6 week schedule. He always had very little hoof growth, and even going that long between trims, there wasn't a lot to take off. My donkey gets done every 8 weeks or so, depending on the farrier's schedule. My new filly, I'm not sure about her yet, we're gonna see how she does and work from there. I bought her from my farrier, so whatever she's been doing seems to be working well.

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Oh I totally agree with you too broo! Going too long inbetween trims, stretched/separated white line, totally can get you abscesses! 8 weeks might be too long for some horses, and some it will be just fine.

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My parents have a gelding that would get at least one abcess a year since we owned him. We've owned him 18 years. He had them prior to us buying him too. But my parents are VERY diligent and trim every 6 weeks and have shoes put on. These aren't back yard horses. Well now they are since they are retired. But these are performance horses that earned their keep. We had a routine as soon as we saw him go 3 legged lame and it was always a sole abcess. I had never seen an abcess come out the top of the cornet band. Like I said all of his abcesses have come out the sole.

They are on a great diet, alfalfa pellets, equine senior, mineral salt and only carrots and rinds for treats. They get ridden every weekend and the gelding I've been talking about is now 35. He still gets ridden every weekend, it may be only at a walk now, but he still is going and happy about being ridden.

They have always been on the 6 week trim cycle and Ed is the only one that has ever had issues. But he also had abcess issues prior to us buying him. So we aren't sure what his issue is.

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I agree that trimming cycles play a huge part in abscesses and also hoof balance but definately the environment. To try to explain, I do believe that wet weather brings on a lot of hoof issues but also I believe a horse that is in a soft moist pasture and then is taken out and ridden on rocky ground can stone bruise which in turn becomes and abscess. In our area, I would say 98% of all abscesses occur on the hinds, many people do not boot or shoe on the hinds. Our horses are pastured in nice soft ground, sometimes damp and a lot of trails we ride on consist of dirt rocky roads, many gas well roads. I guess many people tend to believe horses only need protection on the fronts and dont ever think about the hinds. Just my thoughts.

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On the track our horse feet are trimmed every six weeks or as needed. The conditions are prime on the STB track for abcess due to the stone dust shards. We pack their feet daily with Bowie Clay to help suck out any dust shards that embedded in the horn while they were working.

Trim time on Riding horses would, IMHO help in getting some of those imbedded impurities out before they got too far up into the horn but, trim time alone has nada to do with wheter or not that particular horse will abcess. The harder and denser the horn the less abcessing. The less dense and softer the horn, the more likely an impurity will imbed itself, hence the increase in abcessing in wet conditions which unduly soften the horn.

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My friend, that Broo previously mentioned, was having really big problems with absesses in two of her 3 horses. The two would have multiple abscesses a year. Most in the wet months, but also in the winter - pretty much all year long. She was on a very irregular to non-existent trimming schedule. When I moved my horses to her place, her horses feet were in horrible condition and I could see the blowouts from previous abscesses. I got her on a regular trimming schedule - she was unwilling to do more than every 6-8 weeks. The the biggest factor though, IMO, was finding someone who knew what he was doing. None of her horses had an abscess problem this past year since these changes were made. I think the biggest change for these poor horses was getting their feet trimmed regularly Having it done by someone who knew what he was doing was a huge benefit as well.

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sis had recurring hoof abscesses several years back. i was beside myself trying to figure out what it was due to. she originally pulled a muscle when we got into a difficult situation on a hillside. during her recovery she blew an abcess. after that she had 3 or 4 abcesses - all causing all kinds of worry on my part as she would go lame before they blew out.

i had always had my horses on a 4 - 6 week schedule. i would have bad dreams if they went longer (dreaming the hoof fell off or similar). i had initially liked my shoer, but later on felt that he had her too long in the toe and no heel.

i found a new shoer 4 yrs ago, and no abscess since! he told me that he felt her hooves were unbalanced and we worked on that. both sis and leto have excellent feet, with no "iffyness" and no abscesses.

given this, i think it would make much sense that a long hoof, gone too long between trims would begin to be unbalanced, therefore develop abscesses where pressure builds up abnormally.

go gentle,

rcf

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I wanted to add that my parents live in AZ. Bone dry area and are never in mud. Even when they have moonsoons, the stalls have pea gravel in them and don't ever have standing water or mud. A lot of people think only the wet can cause abcesses, but we found different with our gelding

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I have an abscess prone horse.

1-2 a year (other than Mr. Put-Clip-Through-Foot, no one else has abscessed in my 10 years of horse ownership, so I think it's just him).

He's shod every 4 weeks on the dot.

His I believe is either his stall kicking, water trough digging poor behavior, or the fact that he has coffin join issues in that foot.

It's 70% of the time, the Right Front. Twice it's been the LF I think.

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Before I moved to TN I didnt have problems with abcesses. I had a GREAT farrier who KNOWS his stuff... I was on a 6 week sched. My mare was doing great. Then I moved to TN. It wasnt until just the start of this past winter that I started having the abcess issues. My mare Misty went completely dead lame. I was scared it was more then just an abcess and had the vet out. He popped the abcess but it still blew at the cornnet band. It was I SWEAR around 2 inches LONG. You could see almost through her foot. I kinda freaked out. I am still iffy on my farrier. Zoey (belgian) blew 1 abcess. It was VERY minor and she was not lame from it. I just found the small hole. We shall see what Gunner does. I keep my horses on pasture. They have access to the barn, but chose not to use it in the rain. My current farrier is kinda strange. I am on an 8 week sched, but thinking of changing it to 6 weeks.

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This past summer Colin had the recurrent abcess that you're talking about. I've had him 4-ish years and have only had foot trouble with him one other time (he popped a gravel not long after I brought him home).

My horses are on a schedule of 6-8 weeks depending on how they look. We usually schedule for 6 weeks and then if I think they can wait a few more weeks, I call and push the date back. During the summer we stick pretty close to 6 weeks between trims.

The first abcess over the summer was pretty straight froward. He went sore and got worse and worse until something gave. I soaked and wrapped and medicated and once he was better, quit. About 3 weeks later he abcessed again in the same foot. Had the farrier out and decided the first abcess just hadn't drained all the way before it closed up and there was still something going on. He cut away quite a bit of foot on the bottom. Abcess popped and drained, same as before.

3 weeks later he abcessed again. Abcess finally popped out at the coronet band after my farrier cut away a little more foot and applied some pressure. I also ran antibiotics through him. No more problems after that.

I don't think trimming him on a tighter schedule would have prevented the abcesses, but it's possible I guess. I don't plan on changing my schedule to something like 4 weeks, I just can't afford to trim my horses's feet that often. And I don't think they need it. 6 weeks works for us most of the time.

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I've never had a horse with a hoof abscess, to be honest!

In winter, my horses go up to 8 weeks between trims, mostly because they don't get a huge amount of growth. I'll talk to my shoer and see if he has ever noticed more abscesses after long gaps between trims.

Bumper

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Slinky used to get shod every 8 weeks. But I have decided that that was too long for me, so he will be getting changed to 5 - 6 weeks.

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