Updated: Mar 26
Abscesses are very interesting natural process. They occur for a couple of reasons. One, the horse is ejecting necrotic tissue because the foot was damaged or compromised in some way. The second reason is a foreign object or bacteria gets into the foot.
Worse Before Better
Abscesses can be very painful for your horse. They create a lot of pressure inside a relatively closed and highly sensitive system. Then they have to create a track to follow to the outside. Once they erupt, your horse will almost immediately feel better.
It's a Good Thing
Abscessing is part of a natural healing process. Interestingly enough, horses with terrible hoof pathology may not abscess at all until function and proper nutritional support are restored. Then the abscess floodgates open! They may blow many over the course of months, even years but that's pretty rare, as their foot rebuilds itself.
What Do I Do if my Horse Has an Abscess?
My recommendation is to do nothing with the abscess itself. The hoof is a complex and magical system. It knows exactly what it's doing. Interfering can cause more problems and slow the healing process.
Make sure your horse has easy access to food and water if he's having trouble getting around. Putting him on soft ground will help. You can also wrap the foot with a cushioned pad. A padded hoof boot will work too. Packing the hoof with an antibacterial clay based product, like our Magic Skin Mudd, might help draw the infection out once the abscess ruptures. It's not in production yet, so contact me directly to get some.
How to Prevent Abscesses
The stronger the hoof and the denser the tissue, the less likely it is to abscess. Diet plays a HUGE role here. It takes proper nutrition to build a healthy hoof. The balance and function of the foot are no less important. A quality trim is essential. Whether or not the horse is shod makes a big difference too. Shoes restrict normal function. The hoof has to function in order to receive nutrients, reduce damage, and be strong and healthy. Once the foot is in good shape, abscesses may still happen on occasion but they are usually few and far between.
Are Your Horse's Feet Abscessing?
Let's fix them! I am a certified equine nutritionist and experienced hoof rehabilitator. I would love to help you and your horse. I am available to consult locally or remotely online.
All horses deserve to have happy healthy feet.