If your horse has a hoof abscess, don’t freak out. Believe it or not it’s a very common issue horse owners deal with all the time, but it will need some daily attention for a week or so.
First, let me explain the symptoms you will notice in your horse. The most tell tail sign is limping. It might start out mild but will quickly get worse.
When you clean the hoof you won’t see anything that would cause the limping, that’s because a hoof abscess is caused from a tiny stone that works it’s way between the hoof wall and the sole. By the time your horse is limping, that little stone is half way up the hoof wall and infected, causing the abscess.
The good news is he will be better in no time. You will need a tub you can soak his hoof in. It only needs to be 4 to 6 inches deep. Buckets don’t work that well because when (not if) the horse pulls his hoof out, the bucket will tip over. (it’s a pain) A tub makes things much easier.
You will also need some Epsom salt. You can get it at Wal-Mart or the dollar store. It’s cheep, about 3 dollars. That’s all you will need to fix an abscess.
What you have to do is fill the tub with water, if you can use warm water that’s better. Then pour 2 cups of Epsom salt in and stir until it dissolves. Next, fly spray the horse and put the abscess hoof in the tub to soak. If he takes it out just put it back in. Don’t worry if the water gets dirty. I give the horse hay to munch on because you need to soak the hoof for 20 min, at least once a day. Twice is better if you can swing it.
After the 20 minutes are up just put the horse back in the pasture. No need to wrap it. Remember the abscess is up between the hoof wall and sole. Wrapping won’t do anything. Most (every one I have seen) abscesses rupture in the back of the hoof above the heel. What it will look like is a cut or separation between the heel and the coronary band. Some are quite large 2 inches long. Don’t let it worry you. It’s a good thing when it ruptures. After it ruptures soak it one or two more times. after that you want to let it dry out and keep it dry, so don’t wrap it. I know it will look like it REALLY needs to be wrapped, but don’t do it. Just put your horse back in the pasture and let him be. Now if your pasture is wet, like mud try and move him. Grass is fine, sand is fine or a stall with thin bedding.
I have treated many abscesses, once I treated a house that had 4. One in each hoof at the same time. He was better in a few days and was just fine.
How to prevent an abscess from occurring in the first place. Now, I know when you first get a new horse you get what you get, but start this right away and you will not have to deal with an abscess ever. Give your horse minerals free choice every day. I don’t mean mineral salt or a salt block. Although I have that too. What I give is Purina 10-10 horse minerals. It’s the best. None of my horses have EVER has an abscess in 17 years, and I keep them bare foot and ride everywhere and anywhere. You know what they say, (The proof is in the pudding)