Readers Respond: Pain in the Abscess

More than 1,100 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What challenges do you face when treating a hoof abscess?"

 

results of abscess poll

Results were as follows: 

  • Repeated soaking required: 50.09% (556)
  • Making a duct tape "boot" and keeping it on: 49.91% (554)
  • No convenient way to treat: 27.48% (305)
  • Amount of time it takes to wrap each time: 19.91% (221)
  • Other (comments shared below): 12.52% (139)
  • Dealing with a messy poultice: 10.27% (114)
  • Not having everything I need in one place: 6.49% (72)

Readers shared their abscess woes in the comments below.

This poll was sponsored by HOOFix Abscess Kit.

Results of weekly polls from TheHorse.com are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.

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  • All of the above, mostly the soaking and trying to keep wraps on..
  • Pack the hoof with Sole Pack Packing and put an equine slipper,check dly, 3 wks healed
  • I use a Sabre Sneaker instead of wrapping the hoof
  • Not KNOWING when and where the abcess will surface!
  • Having an abcess last for over 2 years!
  • Getting it to drain and keeping clean, duct tape did not work, came out cornary band.
  • Many horses hate standing for treatment! Have your shoer put a treatment plate on- it's a lifesaver!
  • as a farrier finding the abscess to relieve the pressure plus getting owner to consistantly treat it
  • holding foot while polticing and wrapping
  • Being strong enough to hold up hoof and cut out affected part on minor abscess
  • hoof splashing out of soak bucket
  • I just leave them alone if on the outside of the hoof. Never had one appear on the sole.
  • Recurrances would be my biggest treatment headache. Thank God, I've had very few
  • keeping a boot on over medication with a horse in open corral or meadow
  • Mud is our biggest problem in keeping the poultice clean and dry!!
  • Cold, cold, cold
  • Keeping the hoof dry when it rains..pasture time=mud.
  • Often won't respond to antibiotics
  • It may ba a pain, with soaking, and wraping, but you have to do it...
  • Use a diaper on the hoof then put your duct tape boot on. Stays on longer
  • My horse loses patience with the treatment!
  • not knowing where the abscess is and not knowing how long to heal
  • having to stall outside horses for treatment & discovering abscess as cause of lameness
  • Treat early makes shorter down time vet poked hole DMso'd cotton and wraped in duct boot took 2 wks
  • Hoof abscesses are pretty easy to treat. I can't think of anything really challenging about them.
  • When a horse is in so much pain, the horse can't bear to even lift it's leg to be soaked.
  • I have one horse who gets abscesses every spring - so down time on being able to do anything
  • The 30 min soakings take forever when the horse won't keep his foot in the bucket.
  • Really this is one thing you can treat yourself, try an easy boot over the tape or wrap.It will help
  • Wrap with diaper and duct tape the whole hoof...usually does the trick but is a PAIN!
  • You didn't have an "all of the above" option. All are reasons that make abcesses tough to treat.
  • Need to raise q of cause/support with natural products = great healing
  • i have 4 words cornell u's farriers department...unbelievable...the best
  • they always manage to appear just before a planned event when the weather's finally nice for riding!
  • We have the duct tape boot down to a science. Tube sock with the toe cut out works miracles
  • when the horse gets her foot dirty
  • Never had a foot abscess
  • all of the above
  • The poultice isn't working, abcess still not open after 6 days.
  • The initial step: diagnosis, and figuring out what caused it.
  • In 37 years of owning and showing I have been fortunate in never having a hoof abcess.
  • use the Easy Boot-works great and then the horse can still get out and walk
  • adequate pain management is ESSENTIAL and bute/banamine not good longterm--NEED equine pain relief!
  • The worst part is having to keep the horse in. No problem with wraps or a boot.
  • used a davis boot w/good results but so hard to get off
  • in my case, not being able to give the horse bute, so trying to find an appropriate pain reliever
  • I have found making a soaking boot from inner tube& tape works well
  • soaking hwne the weather in -60F w/ wind chill!!
  • horse hates having foot in water -won't hold still
  • none of those: I find I can make a duct tape boot cheaply, quickly and easy to put on
  • I use Kaeco Epsom Salt Poultice with a wrap
  • Hoof Eeze is a new and wonderful boot, easy to put on, inexpensive and it stays on.
  • My already injured horse got an abscess. Soaking was ok but taping was an issue- to hold up foot.
  • all of these happen with abscess
  • insufficient facilities
  • My horse does not like anything unusual being done to her feet - she will kick the soaking basin.
  • Convincing the horse that boot is not going to eat his leg!
  • the fact that my horses re at constant risk due to traveling on gravelly surfaces!
  • working full time and finding time to do multiple soakings
  • The time I don't mind if I can keep the boot on...that is the trick!
  • never had one - take care of the hooves
  • MY QH just had an abcess. Extemely painful for him, he is good about soakig but what a pain. I use o
  • I soak w/vinegar & water solution -horse objects to boot & liquid
  • Sub-zero weather in conjunction w/soaking required!
  • I really do not think it is that difficult. Most annoying is the stress on the horse.
  • No problem, did many on TB track, bran/flaxseed poultice with ace bandage
  • I've had horses most of my life and never had to deal with an abscess.
  • Loss of use of your horse
  • never had to deal with it
  • treating leg swelling
  • Carving out the time..but we always do
  • I miss the dry powder poultices
  • unable to identify an obvious area to assist w/draining. Waiting for abscess to "blow" is painful!
  • No tmatter what, it seems to move around and eventually erupts at the coronary band
  • Getting the horse to hold still
  • uncooperative horse!
  • difficulty in helping pain control
  • moving a horse around who will only use 3 legs
  • haven't ever had a hoof absess in my 20+ years of horse ownership...
  • the pain the horse feels, that Bute does not touch
  • Having a kit which eliminates the need to soak is great!
  • Confining the horse to a dry environment in rainy season..
  • I'm always concerned about keeping it really clean
  • actually, all of the above. I've found the easiest, speediest recoveries with White Lightning
  • I don't mind all the work, just hate the pain of the abscess for my horse
  • Soaking is effective but very boring/time consuming
  • opento drain, plug hole w/ oakum or cotton soaked in iodine or nolvassan
  • Trying to convince young horses to stand, not kick nor paw, not bite while I soak,wrap,etc.
  • having to keep the horse stalled up!!
  • Just soak 2-3 times a day and make sure it is cleaned out, no wrapping, they heal great
  • My mare has tough feet & abscesses don't open. She suffers until it exits at the coronary b
  • Never being able to locate the medicine boot in the barn in the correcty size.
  • I use a product called Clean Trax,solves the problem with one soak usually.
  • Fortunately my horses don't get abcesses very often.
  • I have never dealt with one.
  • Trying to keep the hoof dry and clean in muddy, wet conditions.
  • Horse being out of riding service; having to keep the horse stalled/foot dry; time to treat
  • medicine boot made the heel balls too soft
  • luckily I have not had to deal with this
  • 30 years only 2 abscesses no problems
  • too much duct tape or "special boots can cause the hoof to sweat. Yet need something strong .
  • Getting my horse to stand with his foot in the epsom salts and warm water for 20 minutes at a time.
  • hard part, keeping the hoof in the bucket!
  • uneducated
  • Future memory of the pain, turns phobia.
  • frustration with horse off work
  • just soaked in saltwater and chlorine, no real problem
  • no dry place to put horse in winter
  • Abcess in left front and right back at same time. Coronet band exit - difficult to treat
  • Easy Boot medicator made it more easy to hold on the bandages. Long time to heal was the worse.
  • Inconvenience of having to pick out the feet 2 or more times a day to help keep them dry & clean.
  • I have a type 2 dibetic hrse. I found using iodine and duct tape boot worked great.
  • Had one go chronic and regiure sugery.
  • Keeping the horse in a stall 24/7.
  • Horse refuses to stand in water, so he makes a mess. We don't bother and he hasn't had one for 5 yr
  • Use the easyboot soaker and white lightning; nothing is easier or more effective in a short time!
  • Being able to be turned out keeping the duct tape on
  • baby diapers, a paper plate and icthamol wrapped with duct tape holds up pretty good, great cushion
  • Getting horse to accept soaking
  • Wud also b worried abt how to keep boot or wrappings on
  • due to my horses allergies, he would get MULTIPLE abscesses. sometimes multiple feet or only in one
  • hate for anything to open up the sole rather it came out the coronary band
  • Keeping my horse happy while stalled.
  • All of the above multiplied by size, draft horses.
  • What is standard of care today?
  • giving antibiotic shots as needed
  • I have found that they heal fine weather I do anything to them or not...so I don't do anything
  • I just have my ferrier come out and find where the abcsess is and pop it. Then he burns it.
  • Not being able to relieve my horse's pain is the worst aspect.
  • IT TAKES WHAT IT TAKES
  • effective pain relief
  • Waiting for it to pass and heal!
  • Carpal tunnel and back problems- extreme pain
  • comfusion when & if use penicillin
  • the amount of time and money that goes into it. The pain my horse is in.
  • Have had very few to deal with and no big problems
  • Takes too long to get it to collect and blow out. This year has been especially bad.
  • Horses usually not thrilled about hoof problems.We look for debris in pasture and discard it.
  • haven't had an abscess since I pulled all my horses' shoes!
  • I hav enever had a horse with a hoof abscess - Knock on Wood!
  • The best discovery was the Cavallo Simple Boot replace constant wrapping.
  • waiting for it to appear at coronary band
  • HOw to tellwhen the abscesss has drained completely
  • I used to work at racetrack, so perfected the poultice, still messy though
  • none of the above...we let mother nature take its course...
  • I have used magnetic pads with success.
  • Usually use an Easyboot, but it's difficult to keep clean
  • waiting for the healing process, c. band appearance is messy, pain is sad.
  • The horse most likely to get an abcess in my barn has a fused knee joint and old hip injuries.
  • it's a slow process and the worst thing is seeing him in pain
  • Glad we have a great ferrier. New vet right out of school didn't know diddle! Horse is OK now.
  • My challenge is all the conflicting advice. Dig it out or let nature work? Everybody's an expert.
  • compared to some injurys I consider an abcess pretty easy to treat
  • The menthol epsom salt gel works much faster than ichthammol.
  • I've been very lucky and have not had any
  • If the horse can be mobile, boots twist and turn, especially on the hind foot.
  • very sandy here, in 5 minutes the boot is gross!!
  • Getting the abscess open from the bottom for drainage.
  • Lots of abscesses in CT, where the state veggie is a rock. Epsom salts and ichthamol!
  • Getting old bandage off; risk of being kicked when cleaning out
  • Keeping the horses foot in the soak long enough before he kicks it over.
  • horses always put wet foot down in dirt right after the soaking!!!
  • the length of time it takes to treat
  • The use od pads really cuts down on abscesses.
  • hanging on to vetwrap, layers of poultice materials and a sore horse all in one go is a tall order
  • facing it for the first time is a problem...
  • have a Vet treat it, remove the shoes & clean out the nail holes, apply anti-bacterial solution & te
  • trying to keep a high strung horse inside out of mud till healed
  • no challenge - just leave it alone. don't interfere & nature will do it's job. i hand walk often.
  • REMOVE SHOE, HAVE FARRIER FIND ABCESS ROUTE TO BOTTOM , SOAK WITH EPSON SALT IN WARM UNTIL GONE.
  • I am sucessful combating absess, with antibiotic rather than let burst.
  • Recurring abcess in LH lat sulcus - wraps and old mac boot for months
  • Got poultice on my nose once, it swelled up and burned...I looked like Pinnochio.....
  • My concern for my horse. I discover by putting hoof oil then duct tape I can draw it faster.
  • Awkward to medicate/bandage a hoof/foot
  • pain management
  • not having a definite diagnosis
  • I am very fortunate and have never had an abscess.
  • I use a Davis Soaking boot and it works wonderfully-when I have to use one!!!!
  • biggest challenge is keeping it free of debris, once it's cleaned out
  • I used the hoofix abscess kit and it was easy and really worked .
  • Knowing when the abscess was truly gone.
  • Getting the antibiotics from my vet
  • Barefoot trimming has eliminated the problem!
  • Getting the horse to hold still is my biggest challenge.
  • Preventing them in the first place!
  • length of time to heal
  • trying to get the Abscess to pop.
  • conflicting advice from Ferrier and Vet. I know the basics, just wish the two of them could get it.
  • Knowing my horse is in pain, but not being to help him quickly.
  • waiting for it to pop out
  • A very bad abscess can be more serious than you think.
  • My burro gets frequent abscesses and doesn't like to have his feet handled!
  • All the "wasted" bandaging I go through
  • My vet specifically recommends AGAINST soaking the foot, to avoid washing bacteria into the wound.
  • my horse pulling off the boot when it feels better
  • My farrier used a hospital plate bolted to the shoe. Very easy to manage.
  • Convincing a horse to stand for the soak is challenging. Duct tape boot...no problem!
  • my horse dealt with the soaking and stall time really well I was pleasently surprised
  • Not knowing whether it is an abscess or not!
  • Horses are barefoot & ahve never had an abscess.
  • Finding a qualified person to locate abscess and open without causing a huge wound in the foot.
  • having someone to hold the horse while you wrap the foot.
  • Never found it a challenge
  • I wish I had bought stock in duct tape & baby diapers, I have used so many for treating abscesses!
  • Needing to repeat on a daily basis is the biggest difficulty
  • The feather on Clydes makes a tough job absolutely impossible--tape won't hold, poultice colors hair
  • My horse doesn't like to stand in a bucket of water with epsom salts, so I have to use a puddle!
  • Nothing about treatment is easy & not being able to relieve pain quickly.
  • An Abcess is my worst nightmare and my mare is very prone to them!! :o(
  • Loss of ability to ride or work the horse
  • We had a horse with recurring abscesses which stopped when we put shoes on her.
  • Preventing and predicting an abscess is the most challenging of the issue.
  • keeping the hoof dry in the winter, summer is no problem, just inconvenient
  • bad farriers
  • As a therapeutic center with 10 horses some products 2 costly
  • keeping the 'boot' providing a barrier for dirt to get into the area
  • The barn manager refusing to leave him inside, so he goes outside and rips the boot off.
  • Expensive, I use Gauze sponges,vetrap,duct tape
  • annoying is trying to explain to the owners how much work ,time and patience is involved in clearing
  • Seeing the pain in my horses movements and eyes.
  • Keeping him still while soaking!
  • Shouldn't continually soak, makes the hoof weaker
  • We could not get a vet out to our barn to help the farrier find the abscess. Too far out.
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