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Hooves Don't Fail Me Now

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Imagine standing and walking around for days, if not weeks, with a jagged object in your shoe. Pretty painful right? Now imagine a horse, pony or donkey experiencing that pain and discomfort much worse since they are constantly on their feet (for the most part) while exercising or seeking food, water and shelter. One of the primary causes of this condition, which can lead to lameness, is referred to as equine abscess .

Abscesses are very common among our furry friends and are one of the leading causes of equine lameness which can potentially lead to further health problems and even Laminitis.

What causes abscesses? When bacteria are introduced into the sole of the hoof, or the white line, infection sets in which causes very painful inflammation. The bacteria can be introduced into the hoof via punctures wounds caused by nails, screws, rocks, poor quality hoof conformation and even Farrier horse shoe nails. Pastures with very wet or extremely dry conditions are where the majority of the puncture wounds occur. As the infection continues to grow, it becomes increasingly more painful as the infection attempts to push its way out via either the coronary band, frog or sole. Detection of lameness is easily recognizable. The equine will walk with a distinguishable limp, potentially lose appetite and thirst, and may even lay down to relieve the pressure on the hoof. Additionally, the equine’s caretaker will feel heat when they place their hand on the suspected hoof. Upon lifting and inspecting the sole of the hoof, it can be gently picked out and cleaned to search for a puncture wound. The wound may appear as either a small or large black hole and emit a very strong/foul smell caused by the buildup and excretion of puss.

How to treat abscesses? It is always best to consult with your veterinarian or Farrier first if abscesses are suspected or observed. However, there are some potential home remedies that have been proven to be effective. Please click on the following link for further guidance…https://youtu.be/FYDZy6GbbKY.

We hope this article is helpful to you and your equines. Please remember that the more we properly care for our equines, the happier and healthier they will be and the happier we will be.

The Louisiana Equine Council (LEC) strives to educate its members and keep them abreast of important equine related issues. If you are not currently a member and would like to join us, just click the JOIN NOW button on our website.


Author: Matthew Stefan, LEC Writer Volunteer


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For the last 20 years I’ve owned between 10-14 horses at any one time

cant recall a time when abscess have been an issue especially after i got away from metal shoes, that cut off circulation to the hoof, the key to healthy hooves are proper nutrition proper environment proper trimming

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