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Offline Cobstar

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Preventing hoof abscesses
« on: January 14, 2015, 05:14:58 PM »
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  • Any tips on preventing hoof abscesses for horses on 24/7 turnout?

    Until my horse moved onto 24/7 grass livery about eight years ago, she never suffered from hoof abscesses. Then when it got very wet we had one or two occur most years on one or other of her front hooves. Having moved to a different area we've had about 18 months abscess free (although she was on part livery and stable for two to three months last autumn). She had to come in last weekend as she was brewing another abscess, which is now draining.

    My horse is shoeless currently and has a regular pasture trim from a registered farrier. In the past when it's been very wet and she's had a bout of abscesses she has been shod at the front again. Last time she had to be shod as she had to have a pad over the hole the farrier had to cut to get the abscess to drain.

    I'd prefer her not to go through the pain of an abscess. And I could do without the additional cost of stabling her to resolve the problem.

    Any suggestions to prevent the problem in future?

    Offline CarolineJ

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #1 on: January 14, 2015, 06:05:52 PM »
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  • What are her feet like in general and what is she being fed?  As I understand it (and I might have got completely the wrong end of the stick), abscesses often start with a bit of grit getting into the hoof through soft/thrushy frogs or stretched white lines, which then works its way through the hoof and bursts at the heel or the coronet band.  If you make the foot more robust through diet, theoretically you should get fewer abscesses?

    Offline Cobstar

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #2 on: January 14, 2015, 07:45:35 PM »
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  • Huge cob hooves. Mix of white and coloured horn. Would say normally quite good quality horn.

    Current feed is well maintained equine pasture, small daily feed of Alfa A + Bailey's Lo Cal with Cortaflex and garlic. During winter they get haylage in field too.

    Problem seems to occur when soles permanently in contact with soggy pasture - ie if shod seem to avoid problem.

    Offline CarolineJ

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #3 on: January 14, 2015, 07:57:15 PM »
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  • Is there anywhere she can get off the sogginess for a while each day?  Mine have a hard-standing area around the field shelters which they come onto twice a day to be fed (or more often if the weather's vile and they want a duvet day) and I think that really helps, just letting the feet dry out for an hour or so.

    Offline Ritchie

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #4 on: January 14, 2015, 09:28:00 PM »
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  • There is a train of thought that the horse may be lacking copper and zinc.  I certainly have had less of a problem with my mare and seedy toe since introducing extra minerals.  See  http://forageplus.co.uk/abscesses-and-poor-hoof-quality/
    Sue in the middle of Shropshire

    Offline Tiber

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 09:57:37 AM »
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  • I'm not implying that you don't already (I know I don't!), but rigorous daily hoof care would probably help, taking particular care of the white line and making sure there's no grit going up in there. I've found that the best thing to use to check it in the winter is a wire brush! Pick out any grit and other debris (with a nail if necessary) and if there are any holes pack them with something hoof-friendly - I use Red Horse field paste worked into shredded cotton wool to give it some structure (Hubby the mechanic says it's like radiator putty!), which stays in the holes for up to a week before falling out. When the feet are wet all the time they soften, so bits can get in more easily. If you can get her onto dry footing for even an hour a day that would probably help.

    Horses that live out 24/7 can be a nightmare in the winter - I'm in the same situation but without any access to stabling or hard standing. The only time mine get somewhere dry to stand is when the field freezes!


    Honey, Pip and The Duckies in soggy mid-Wales.

    Offline SueC

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 11:46:05 AM »
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  • Might be coincidence, but Aria abscessed when I broke my foot.  A friend looked after her, so she was mostly out 24/7 and she had less, if any, of her (forageplus) supplement. She'd already been getting less than normal of it for the Summer, as there was so much going on with new people taking over the yard, I hadn't been giving it to her every day anyway. It was dry at the time.  Since I've had her it's the only time she's abscessed, despite being out 24/7 in last year's very wet and muddy winter.  She's just about grown out the abscess hole now, it popped just under the coronet, so it's taken a while to grow down.  She's barefoot.

    Offline Cobstar

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 08:21:03 PM »
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  • Thank you for all the feedback and suggestions

    Offline Claire

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #8 on: January 15, 2015, 10:22:59 PM »
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  • last time M abscessed the vet was going to whinge about the lack of shoe (unshod behind) until he found it was in a place where a shoe would have made no difference whatsoever.  and M is in overnight, and we always pick feet out and (if it is not going to freeze) hose the feet out as well, to avoid leaving any crap in them....we're near enough to the tap to make that practical and it's much quicker than messing about with buckets and brushes.  doing that after he had a horror last winter, probably through standing in too much crap in the field when waiting to be brought back in

    Offline why1040

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #9 on: January 17, 2015, 08:08:55 PM »
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  • Purely anecdotal, but Dan seems to get abscesses when I feed him alfalfa.  4 times in just over a year!

    Offline ChrissieW

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #10 on: February 18, 2015, 09:39:58 AM »
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  • After abscesses the last two winters even with Daisy coming in at night and on a barefoot friendly diet and having never been shod, I have cheated this year and gone back to using Keratex gel  :o

    Result has been hooves that have been far less soft, horse less footy and rideable on stony surfaces this winter and so far....no abscesses (probably cursed it now!)

    Might be a fluke, but I'm going with it, as I hate poulticing!  :laugh:
    Chrissie - West Sussex, UK

    Offline Cobstar

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    Re: Preventing hoof abscesses
    « Reply #11 on: February 18, 2015, 01:07:54 PM »
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  • Fingers crossed all is OK but will definitely consider Keratex gel given your feedback