Hawaii Natural Hoofcare
Susanella Noble, CNBBT
Treatment & Prevention Of Equine Hoof Abscesses
An Abscess is a collection of pus (necrosis) accumulated within tissues as a defensive reaction to bacteria or foreign matter. Abscesses originate in the laminae, therefore fall under the pathogenesis of Laminitis and are either a sign of deterioration or remodeling of the hoof. Laminitis is caused by dietary (over-feeding), pharmacutical (immunizations, cortisteroids, wormers) or mechanical (wrong shape, shoes, concussion) stresses. The abscessing episode can be anywhere from severe to minimal. Every horizontal ring on the hoof wall represents a former insult to the laminitic connection.
Severe abscess - Dexamethazone insult trigger
Minor abscess - Mechanical insult
Horizontal insult rings
Symptoms: Horse suddenly becomes lame - lying down - “pointing” one or more feet - heat in hoof - elevated heart-rate - bounding digital pulse - swelling above the coronary band (often up the leg) - rocking onto back legs - refusing to move - sweaty - temperature - stands “parked out”.
The Course Of An Abscess begins with a pre-existing systemic imbalance 1) Insult or “trigger episode” occurs 2) MMP enzymes in the cecum release erratically causing breakdown in basement membranes that form laminae 3) Sensitive and insensitive laminae lose their connection leaving necrotic tissues which fester and become pus 4) Infection errupts and blood vessels dialate with nowhere to expand within the hoof causing intense pain 5) Abscess eventually errupts through either the coronary band including heels, the frog or through the sole, “sub-solar”. After the initial insult, it can take up to three weeks before lameness symptoms appear and from that point it can take hours or weeks for an abscess to run its course and only then will the horse feel relief.
If Your Horse Goes Down:
Monitor & Chart Vitals:
Veterinary Support: If your horse is running a fever and has lost his appetite, it’s time to call your vet with symptoms & vitals in hand.
Prevention: By domesticating feral horses, we have made them very delicate. We’ve been led to believe the propaganda of horse food manufacturers and feed our horses grains and sugars, setting them up for disaster triggers. The key is to feed every equine like they’re diabetic, schedule frequent hoof care, manage the environment and give the horse exercise.
This information is intended only for the clients of Hawaii Natural Hoofcare and is validated by the definitive study, Clinical Outcome of 14 Obese, Laminitic Horses Managed With The Same Rehabilitation Protocol published by the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, February 2014.