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What is a Horse Abscess?

An infection located in the hoof can be referred to as an abscess or pus in the hoof. An abscess can develop when bacteria enters through the sole. The hoof capsule may not expand and the pus that develops could cause pressure on the sensitive tissues. This pressure could result in pain and lameness. Until the pressure has been released by the abscess bursting, the pain can continue. This can burst through the sole or coronary band. Foot abscesses can be seen near the white line area. Foreign bodies such as dirt can penetrate the white line which in return can allow bacteria to enter the hoof. Secondary bruising of the hoof can also cause an abscess to form. When a horse begins to show signs of an abscess, questions about the symptoms, causes or effective treatments can arise. Read below for questions that have been answered by Experts.

Horse Abscess Treatment

Treatment can include hot soaks and also hot poultice packs. The packs may need to be kept on the hoof for two days. While the packs are applied the hot soaks should be discontinued. However, at the end of the two days, the packs should be soaked off. This process should be continued until the abscess ruptures or relief from the lameness occurs. The hoof may need to be checked for other areas of soreness with a hoof tester. A farrier could also examine the hoof for areas of ascending abscess. The horse may need a shoe put on the hoof.

How to prevent horse abscesses from recurring?

A prolonged healing time could be caused by the abscess being larger than expected. The hoof should be cleaned and dried in order to help prevent any new abscesses from forming. Easy Ride Boots can also be applied to the help to help prevent this condition. When using the boots, the hoof can be cleaned and inspected daily. A farrier could apply a shoe with a pad to help cover the sole. This pad is placed between the hoof and the shoe to prevent dirt and moisture from accessing the hoof. The hole in the hoof may need to be packed with cotton soaked in antiseptic to help keep it clean. This pad can also help prevent the sole from becoming bruised. A Hospital Plate can be applied to keep the hoof dry and clean. It may take 1-2 shoeing cycles before the defect fills in, depending on the size of the defect.

What could cause a horse abscess to recur?

A horse abscess can recur because of residue abscess forming within the hoof wall. If it recurs, the cause could be bacteria between the coffin and the wall. A hoof wall resection may be needed because these abscesses can be difficult to treat. Radiographs may be needed if the coffin bone to ensure there is no infection in the bone. Antibiotics will be needed if there is an infection present.

Are abscesses contagious to other horses?

Horse abscesses are normally not contagious. This condition is caused by bacteria that enters the hoof through an injured area or through the hoof wall. Therefore, a horse without an abscess can be kept with another horse that has one. 

An abscess is a pocket infection that forms. Anytime a horse is showing signs, questions and concerns can arise regarding the treatments, prevention and causes. For more information or answers to these questions, individuals can contact an Expert.

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