> I went out yesterday morning and old Chevy, my Arab who has been in
> honourable retirement for the last 7 years, was brutally lame in the
> near front foot. Chevy is 28 but seems a lot older due to a Cushing's
> episode. My first thought of course was founder, and my heart sank.
Except in cases of mechanical founder (such as Barbaro had), founder is
a systemic problem and affects both front feet (or rarely, all 4 feet).
When you have a sudden lameness in a *single* front leg, founder is
highly unlikely - even with a horse that has Cushings. When you have
sudden and severe lameness in a single leg with no obvious external
cause (no wound), the odds are quite high that you have an abscess.
> The vet came out, and got a *** reaction with the hoof tester.
> "Aha" she said, "we may have an abcess here". Less than a minute of
> exploratory digging and she hit it. She slapped on a sugar and iodine
Iodine, or betadine? Normally this is made with betadine, and the
solution is called sugardine. It's wonderful stuff.
> poultice, wrapped it up, told me to give him some bute and soak the
> foot in epsom salts the next morning. As she packed up she commented
> "would that all lameness issues were this easy to definitively
> diagnose and treat!" Who would have thought that an abcess would be
> such welcome news.
Hoof abscesses are extremely gratifying to diagnose and treat. You need
just 2 simple tools (hoof tester and hoof knife) to locate and open the
abscess, which provides dramatic and immediate relief for the horse and
allows it to drain and heal. Treating it is relatively cheap and simple
(compared with almost everything else that can cause lameness) - the
most expensive parts of the treatment are the costs for materials for
daily bandaging the hoof or buying a hoof boot! Sugar, betadine, espon
salts, etc. are all readily available and inexpensive.
The most important part is making sure the abscess hole closes from the
inside out. Don't let it close over on the outside when there is still
a cavity on the inside. Use an old (clean) wormer tube or syringe to
flush the hole after soaking the hoof. You can tell that the internal
cavity is getting smaller day after day and sense when you can stop
flushing because the cavity is almost entirely filled with granulating
tissue, and let the wound close up on the outside. Then it's just a
matter of providing protection until he regrows horny sole to protect
the region from rocks and such as he's walking about. If he gets
suddenly lame again, it means the outside closed up while there was
still infection inside, and the drainage tract needs to be reopened.
> footnote - no pun intended. After soaking Chevy's foot this morning I
> put Yoko's Mac boots on his front feet for protection. I forgot Chevy
> had never had boots on before. He took one step and his eyes
> widened. The poor boy had the idea of galloping them off...but when
> you are old and stiff and have an abcess to boot, the equivalent of 3
> slow piaffes in place is the best you can do before even an arab
> realizes that maybe they are not so bad after all!! He shuffled off,
> looking as if his dignity was being injured.
LOL! Give the old guy some scritchies for me.