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Hoof abcess, antibiotics yes/no

Horse Management Thread, Hoof abcess, antibiotics yes/no in Horses and Ponies; Ok so one of the horses in my care has a charming foot abcess which burst out through the heel ...
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:09 AM   #1
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Default Hoof abcess, antibiotics yes/no

Ok so one of the horses in my care has a charming foot abcess which burst out through the heel yesterday. I called my vet and she told me to clean it, apply a poultice (animalintex) and give him a shot of long acting penicillin, all of which I did. He is slightly improved this morning. Changing the poultice every 12 hrs according to instructions on the packet.

I've since been told by a few people that antibiotics shouldnt be given for foot abcesses. Not knowing any better I went with what the vet told me.

So what are your thoughts?
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:17 AM   #2
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My boy used to be the Hoof Abscess King! He would get as a minimum 2-3 per year and one time he got 1... then just before that fully healed another... then about a week later another! Did my head in! lol

He is now much better (dryer paddocks!) and he hasn't had one for about 3 years (touch wood!!)

Over all those times he was never given antibiotics - just dug out by my (at the time) amazing farrier, poulticed and left to heal, which took about 3 weeks (approx).

Maybe the fact that it had burst of it's own accord is the reason for the vet recommending antibiotics?

Oh, and for hoof issues I would never make my vet the first port-of-call... my farrier, along with the majority of farriers, funnily enough, specialises in hooves!
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:30 AM   #3
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thanks JJ, I have yet to find an amazing farrier! lol or any farrier at all to be honest, the ones I have called are either not taking new clients as they are too busy, or wont come out once I admit I have a difficult horse (not the one with the foot abcess, the other one is bad for having her feet handled), so at the moment the hunt continues and in the meantime we are working on getting the mare more comfortable with having her feet picked up. Interesting to hear your experience though, gosh I hope this horse doesnt turn into an abcess king lol. I would guess not since my paddocks are nice and dry and well drained.

Interested to hear the thoughts of other people as well
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:44 AM   #4
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Most abscess don't require AB's, just soaking in Epsom salts, poulticing and a little time.
Having said that, I had one recently with an abcess that just simply refused to burst and the horse was in a lot of pain. Without pain meds she couldn't bear any weight on the leg. I spent nearly 2 weeks managing it at home via poulticing etc with the guidance of a vet and a farrier but we were getting nowhere. Eventually I took her in for xrays because there was simply too much infection and there was a serious concern for pedal bone and coffin joint infection. It resulted in a week long stay at the clinic on IV and IM antibiotics and thankfully the mongrel thing finally let go on about the 4th day at the vets.
Long story short, abscesses are very painful and can cause more problems than the obvious. You're lucky in that yours burst easily and now it can drain and be kept clean. If you're vet suggested the AB's then personally I'd run with their advice.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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I was always told that an abcess will not respond to antibiotics because the tissue around the foreign body causing the infection makes a wall to prevent the spread of the infection.
This keep everything bad inside the abcess, but also keeps anything good (antibiotics) out.
They can be treated with antibiotics after they have errupted, but not while the gunk is still in there.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serendipity View Post
thanks JJ, I have yet to find an amazing farrier! lol or any farrier at all to be honest, the ones I have called are either not taking new clients as they are too busy, or wont come out once I admit I have a difficult horse (not the one with the foot abcess, the other one is bad for having her feet handled), so at the moment the hunt continues and in the meantime we are working on getting the mare more comfortable with having her feet picked up. Interesting to hear your experience though, gosh I hope this horse doesnt turn into an abcess king lol. I would guess not since my paddocks are nice and dry and well drained.

Interested to hear the thoughts of other people as well
Are your horse's feet getting long or out of balance while you wait for farrier? Just that I think this predisposes the hoof to developing abcesses? Could you get your well behaved horse's feet on a farrier's books at least, even if you have to travel him to join an existing group booking?
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:53 AM   #7
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long story blackbat, neither of these horses have had any attention for at least 14 mths including no foot trimming. The boy that has the abcess actually has great feet and his were trimmed last week by a friend who knows how to barefoot trim - she commented that this foot was strange and to keep an eye on it. The other one which is bad for foot handling however doesnt have great feet, long, flared and sand cracks. So she is the one I am more concerned about getting to a trimmer/farrier, however as I said she's so bad for it I havent found anyone willing to do her yet till she has more manners. I have been debating whether to get her sedated and done, but she is improving each day I work with her so hopefully in a week or two she will be well behaved enough for a trim.

travelling to a group booking, good idea! to be honest I hadnt thought of that! I'd have to hire a float but surely that could be arranged if the farrier could fit me in.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:08 PM   #8
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Wow serendipity - that is a very, very (did I mention very!) long time between trims! Most people get them done every 5-6 weeks (give or take a week or so).

I think you may be a little fortunate to have only had a hoof abscess issue
(PS... I popped over to your 'hello' thread and had another look at your horses and their hooves... they actually don't look too bad at all, from what I can see! )

There are quite a few good farriers around and I am sure that if you let us know where in Perth you are we could give you some contact details to try. However, having said that, a quick search of Stockies for 'farrier' will pop up quite a few names and numbers.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:02 PM   #9
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i just took my mare to the vets today for xrays after dealing with a stubborn abscess for the last 11 days. she was initially poulticed & treated by the vet, who did not give her antibiotics, nor did the vet on subsequent visits.

today, xrays showed exactly where the problem is and she's had a fair wack of hoof taken off, plus it was drilled to release even more pressure. then dressed with an antibiotic cream now that the whole area is opened up and packed with iodine gauze before being entirely wrapped up.
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:42 AM   #10
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In my experience - no antibiotics until its has burst, and then you can give antibiotics after to help clear the infection (although its not imperitive).

If you give Ab's before it bursts you may not get rid of the infection properly as it will sit in the hoof and not look to get out. Just regular poulticing and soaking in epsom salts until it bursts.


It is not unusual for a horse to go extended periods without hoof care if they have good feet and manage to file them down on their own. I know many horses that are bushed without trims ever in their lives, my mare has at times gone over 6 months without a trim (dinky little brumby feet!). My farrier sometimes checks them and usually says she doesn't need anything.

Sometimes we forget that not everyone has cotton wool wrapped horses.
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