Thursday, January 20, 2011


You know, the idea of Milo having an abcess has been in my mind since the day I pulled him out of the pasture lame. I have had three abcesses with him, and none of them fit the mold for the "typical abcess" symptoms. You know, feel the wall of the hoof for heat, use hoof testers to locate the abcess, etc. My horse never seems to fit that mold.

Thats right, I think Milo has an abcess. And yes, we just had one in August, and yes, the last one was in the same hoof as well (weak, suseptable hoof? I think yes). My first abcess with him didnt exhibit any of the "usual" signs, and I hauled him to the vet to check it out. Turns out it was an abcess, and Dr Hills just dig it out. Second abcess showed a "pop" to his step just below the fetlock. Where when Milo puts weight down on the hoof for a step, there is a moment that looks as if it "popped" into place (for an example look at yesterday's post's video). Again, took him to the vet, it was an abcess. Last August, Milo didnt seem to have a pop, but was non weight bearing on the hoof. After Apple Cider Vinegar soaking, it blew right above the coronet.

So here is what I have come to find about what an abcess looks like for Milo: no heat in hoof, no real sensistivty to hoof testers, or poking around on his hooves, no obvious abcess location, and generally, a very minimal amount of puss when it finally surfaces.

Now, since the "popping" abcess episode, I have observed that even when sound, Milo's hind exhibits that popping appearance in the same location. No noise, and like I said, hes sound, but popping nonetheless. So when I found Milo lame on Monday and saw popping, I first thought "Oh its an abcess, just like that time before" but then looked at the other leg, which had a pop to it as well, so I tried to rule out the abcess. But clearly, the popping is greater in the left hind (abcess suspected hoof).

I brought Milo up to the barn for a good grooming session, and talked to the BO about whats going on. I love my BO; she is highly intelligent about horses including care and medical attention. She is always there when I need to talk to her and is always willing to give some advice and/or help. Anyways, I just love her. So she bent down to investigate his hoof and took his digital pulse on the cannon area. She said that he exhibited a higher pulse. I hadnt known about taking a pulse reading there, and she graciously showed me how. Indeed, I was able to feel the pulse, not rapid, but consistently there. She tested against it with the front cannon, and sure enough she couldnt detect a pulse there. So clearly, his pulse rate was higher in that hind leg, pumping blood down to the hoof (or abcess) for healing.

So that about did it for me, Im quite sure it has to be an abcess now. I bought a ton of Apple Cider Vinegar from Wal Mart last night and stopped at a friend's for her hoof boot for soaking. I will soak twice a day (once at lunch, once after work) until something happens. At worst, it isnt an abcess and my efforts are for not, and at best, it will draw out the abcess. Hoping for the best.

Now I know that an abcess will not blow in two days time, and even if it did, Milo would need a few days rest from it. So, Im quite sure the show is out the window. Im really disappointed as we have attended every show this season and were sitting on lead if I could attend the last two. If I do really well at the last one I might be able to take the series, but thats a big if. Oh well, there are other shows and next year's series. Its just a real bummer to be working so hard for months to have an ill timed abcess effect our series status. While I have been doing the shows to measure our improvement and for fun, I didnt want to take it too seriously, the fact that we are sitting on top right now just makes it that much harder, when the sweet taste of victory is so close.

Oh well, I guess.


Anonymous said...

At least abscesses are pretty easy to deal with and over with fairly quickly. Is there anything that might be predisposing him to abscesses, you think? This can be anything from the way he's trimmed/shod - some farriers take too much off the sole, the surfaces he's stabled/turned out on - too soft and muddy tends to result in weak soles that are prone to bruising, or even feeding issues - too many carbs can lead to footsoreness/poor hoof growth in horses with a predisposition to insulin resistance. These things can be hard to figure out.

Anonymous said...

Im not surprised about an abcess currently, his pasture is a mud hole all around the stall area, which is where he spends the majority of his time. I would rule out farriery, as I am very confident in my current farrier, he has been doing wonders with Milo's feet. As far as carbs, I would doubt against that, Milo gets about a quarter cup of oats twice a day, just to get the joint supplements down. Other then that hes fed 4 flakes of timothy mix hay and can forage on his grass pasture. Im just curious as it always seems to be the same hoof if it individually is weaker.

But I agree, an abcess is far better then say, a tendon.

in2paints said...

Truer words have never been spoken!! :) No soft tissue injuries please!!

I'm glad to hear you think you narrowed down the cause. At least now you can get a plan together to treat it. Lilly has had two abscesses, but hers were for obvious reasons and in different feet. Sounds like Milo's could be from all the wetness in his pasture, but like you said, it's the same foot each time. Poor left hind hoof!

Hopefully it pops here shortly and he's ready to go to the shows again soon!