Thursday, June 16, 2011


Monday, Silk started limping on her back right leg. It was a little swollen and warm. I began soaking it and called my farrier to let him know that if things didn’t improve, I would need him to stop by later in the week. Then, yesterday in the middle of an incredibly busy afternoon, Siete was dramatically lame on her front left foot.

We had a huge rainstorm earlier in the week, after it had been dry for about five days. This is usually the perfect storm for the horses to develop abscesses. So, I was hoping and praying that this was the problem. Of course, you know me, I went to all kinds of other terrible places in my mind. I started with Siete having laminitis, since her foot was so warm and she was standing with her front legs spread wide, and then, I imagined Lyme Disease again. Even the dosing of 30 days of antibiotics seemed like it would be a blessing compared to laminitis. And let's not forget, I also had Silk to obsess about with her swollen back foot. The rough waters of the Sea of Worry were testing me. Like a mantra to calm myself, I kept coming back to “It’s just an abscess.”

Dropping every other ball I had in the air, I sent out frantic calls for Johnny, the farrier, and began soaking and packing Siete’s feet along with Silk’s. I gave them both some banamine, which helped ease the pain, and locked them in their stalls. I stopped feeding Siete any grain and soaked her hay. She only got a small handful for dinner. Johnny told me that he’d come by after lunch the next day. I didn’t sleep well last night, but was heard mumbling, ”only an abscess”.

It was so good to see two red heads poking out of the barn this morning. More soaking, more Animalintex poultices, more banamine and very little hay, but the girls were very mellow about it. I kept promising them that I would make them both feel better soon. I also called the vet and told her what was happening. She said it’s the season of the abscess with this dry and then extreme wet weather. She also told me to call her after Johnny was here and if he didn’t find anything, she’d stop by to look at them.

So, I wandered around for four hours, trying to get things done that I had abandoned yesterday, pretending that I wasn’t worried, hoping and praying, reassuring myself that I had two horse professionals who would help me figure this out today. And then, Johnny came.

It’s abscesses!!! Hooray! Who ever thought I’d be celebrating about hoof abscesses?


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

What a relief! Sounds like you had all the bases covered though ;)

Anonymous said...

Abscesses can be so dramatic - they must really hurt. Glad that that's what it turned out to be.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear that's all it was. As if just an abscess could be good news, but given the other options, I'd take it. What a relief.

Oak in the Seed said...

There is something to be said for "been there; done that" and the comfort of familiarity, even if it is knowing how to treat an abscess. Hope the weather and your girls improve soon!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Literally going through the SAME thing and trying not to panic about it..although, I am ;)
I didnt know weather like that could be a strong role either...
They really act terribly sore and LAME during the episode dont's scary. I did not have any luck w/ animalinex staying on. How did you apply?
I was told that encouraging walking helps work the abscess out.

Lori Skoog said...

See! That wasn't too bad. They'll both be running around in no time.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks for all the sympathy, everyone!
Kristen - Here's my abscess routine: I have a rubber medicine boot which I fill with warm water and some epsom salts. Soak the foot for about 10 minutes. Then, I take a boot - I have Soft Ride boots, but there are lots of other now to choose from - something that the horse can walk in comfortably and that will stay on their feet for many hours- I put a square of Animalintex (I buy the long strips and cut them up) that I've dampened with warm water in the bottom of the boot. Leave it on for the day, do it all over again before bedtime. After two or three days, the horse is usually fine. You can use a slurry mix of sugar and iodine or this black ointment called Ichthamol instead of the Animalintex - anything to draw out the gunk from the abscess. My farrier opens up the hoof to give it a path to drain - some people prefer not to open it and let the abscess come out on its own, but we've had better luck this way. Good luck - let me know if you have any other questions!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

thanks..I dont know why but I didnt think of cutting up the Animalinex. Why? ;)
I have Easy boot epics so I could dampen and put them in there so easily. I did do a clay poultice that seemed to work ok, but still waiting on it working it's way out.
Yes, I know Dr. Kellon, we communicate via email and her yahoo No Laminitis group :)

John and Regina Zdravich said...

Wow! I can't imagine going thru all of that...we are so blessed to have not had those problems. Our weather has been craxy, too....really warm then cold again..just nuts.
Glad to hear this is something that can be dealt with relatively easily. I feel for you!

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Good news! I dealt with abscesses all winter with My Boy. His soles were so eroded and tender from all the mositure and he has cracks and pressure spots in his hooves. In fact I am excited to see if at his new location, his hooves will be better (his new farrier said to give it 6 months.)
I got my abscess routine down. I use straight epsom salts in hot water, in a boot, soak for about 20minutes a day. Within 3-5's they were fine. I also sprayed iodine on his hooves to help dry them out and kill bacteria.
(This is Ranch Girl, formerly "Pony girl"! ;-)