Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reva's Hoof Abscess

While I have been an equestrian for almost thirty years, I have never once had to deal with a hoof abscess...until this spring!  Reva had been back into spring conditioning almost three weeks when she came up DEAD LAME on March 23.  Of course, I was upset and figured she had done something horrible to one of her front tendons.  She was literally unable to put any weight on her left front.  Her forelegs were like tree stumps.  My farrier came out the following day and couldn't get a reaction with the hoof testers (this was a Saturday at the end March), and told me he didn't think it could be an abscess.  This made me pretty worried, and I tried wrapping her overnight and give her a bit of stall rest until Monday when I called the vet.  I hoped maybe she would come out of it and I tried not to panic.  She just pulled the wraps off, though they did make her tendons look normal again (Back on Track wraps are awesome!)  I figured if the BoT wraps made her legs look "normal", it couldn't be a torn tendon or something horrible like that.  She was still pretty darn lame so I knew something was wrong and she did not just "tweak" herself in the pasture.


On the phone, my vet felt pretty sure it was an abscess though.  I figured it couldn't hurt to start soaking her and see what we got.  He couldn't make it out until later in the week, but assured me Reva would most likely be just fine.  I knew I could just wait and soak her and it would probably heal up with no need for a vet, but having never EVER dealt with an abscess, I felt better knowing a vet would look at her.  Of course, within a day, I was all out of the Betadine and Vetwrap in my first aid kit.  I ended up spending nearly a hundred bucks on Betadine, Vetwrap (I think we used over 10 rolls!!), Animalintex poultice, baby diapers, and duct tape!!  LOL!


Mac and Lucy waiting patiently with me as we soak Reva's hoof for 20 minutes!

Reva was so good about having her hoof soaked!

Waiting for the hoof to soak...

The cheap diapers I bought...after using a few I realized what they said.  Reva is a monkey all right!
My vet's partner came out that Thursday, almost a week from the day I discovered Reva all hobbled up lame.  I had been diligently soaking her hoof in Betadine and warm water, then wrapping an entire poultice around the bottom of her hoof as well as up around the back of her heels, then wrapping it with Vetwrap and then duct tape.  The vet was surprised I used such a big piece, but it ended up being perfect.  As soon as she lifted Reva's left front, she went to touch the bulb of her heel.  She was saying, "This looks a little soft here..." and SPLOOOOSH!!!!  The slight pressure from her thumb made the entire abscess burst everywhere.  It was actually pretty gross and awesome all at the same time.  Immediately Reva was able to bear weight on that leg and walked off sound!!!!  It was amazing how much pressure had been building in that hoof.  Reva's relief was so obvious.


She was put on SMZs for 10 days, which was actually fairly easy with her.  I just made her grain meals into a mash and the pills dissolved easily in the warm water.  Reva was pretty sure she was the luckiest horse ever to have so many grain mashes!  I continued soaking her hoof through the following Monday, doing the poultice for a few more days but then moving on to just a diaper.  By the following Tuesday, she seemed pretty comfortable and ready to go without a wrap.  That day my other vet, who I just use for chiro work, was already scheduled to come out to and work on Reva anyway.  I was happy for another vet to take a look at her abscess and give me the all clear!  


The chiro vet not only worked on her body, but also did acupuncture on her left front pastern area to help speed the healing in that hoof.  He found her SI joint out of whack as well as some tension in her poll and left jaw.  She really was not in as bad of shape as I had anticipated.  She trotted sound and I knew it was time to put her back to work.  I gave her a few days off because of the chiro adjustment, and we finally went back to work on April 7.  All told, she had 15 days off which seemed like an eternity!  I was so bummed out, but in the end it all worked out.  I guess I rather see us miss two weeks of spring conditioning than have this happen in the middle of the summer!  Our first show was not until May 6, so I knew I still had plenty of time to restart our conditioning program.


I really hope I don't have to deal with another abscess any time soon.  It was a pain in the butt!  LOL!  The interesting part was when the farrier came out to trim her in mid April, he was able to find the tract of the abscess in the bottom of her hoof.  It showed the very obvious path that "something" travelled up through her sole and out the back of her coronet band above her heel.  It thought that was pretty cool.  

2 comments:

Katie said...

Abcesses are the worst! Glad she's better!

Laura said...

Glad that Reva is ok now - an abscess is a fascinatingly weird thing... Sounds like she was a good patient for her treatments!