Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tonight's featured guest... Reddums!

Poor little Reddums is still stuck in a stall with his abscess. I trotted him out tonight and he didn't seem off, but he still has a hole in his foot where they drained the abscess, so no way am I putting him back out in the knee-deep pasture mud.

Sooo, since I needed to soak and re-wrap his foot tonight, I figured I'd snap a few pictures and explain what I do for an abscess, since it's a good thing to know in general.

First, fill a bucket about 1/3 full of hot water, then add about 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. Swirl it around the dissolve the salt, then convince your horse it's fun to stand in the bucket. Red is not a good patient for this part, so we have no pictures, but I did manage to get him to stand there for about 10 minutes. Why Epsom salts? My understanding is that they have a nice anti-bacterial property, so they keep any critters from making a home in the drained abscess.

While your horse is soaking, gather the rest of the stuff you'll need: a towel, Vet wrap, Icthammol (take the cap off), a gauze surgical pad, and (of course!) Duct tape. Make sure everything is handy because once you take that foot out of the soak and dry it off, you don't want to put it down again till you've got the whole thing wrapped.

Next, if necessary, hose the foot off with hot water to get any debris out. Then dry it off with a towel (it really needs to be fairly dry to get the wrap stick to it).

The abscess is the dark spot that's in the center of the picture.

Now this is the tricky part. From the time you dry the hoof to the time you're done with the wrap, you don't want to set the foot down. This is why you laid everything out within easy reach while the foot was soaking.

First, get a nice glob of Icthammol on a cotton gauze pad.

Mmmmmicthammol. Don't get this stuff on you, it's nearly impossible to get out of clothing. However, it's great at drawing the pus out of an abscess.

Next, apply the Icthammol and gauze to the abscess.

Use Vetwrap to hold the Icthammol and pad on - wrap the entire hoof, including the edges of the hoof wall.

Cover the whole mess with duct tape. Don't be shy about using lots of it - the purpose of the duct tape is to provide a temporary "shoe" to protect the foot. It will wear through in a day or so, maybe a bit more if your horse is on soft bedding.

Now you can put the hoof down. Here's what it looks like:

Notice how the Vetwrap and duct tape go up over the coronet band? That's a problem - if it's too tight there, it can cut off the blood circulation to the hoof.

Fix the problem by taking a pair of scissors and carefully snipping down about 1/2 inch into the wrap - you can see where I've peeled the wrap away from the coronet band. The little yellow bits are flaps of the Vetwrap underneath hanging down (sorry, the blurry picture makes this hard to see).

Finally, because I have one, I put an Easy Boot over the whole mess. This just gives Red a little more cushion but is not necessary. Staying in a well-bedded stall should provide his foot cushion enough.

After our little vet clinic, I took Saga and Red out to graze for a while. Saga looks none the worse for the wear after the show this last weekend, despite continuing to be stuck in his stall due to the weather - and we're supposed to get even MORE rain tonight!

I tried to get a few pictures of the two of them, but they kept moving and there wasn't enough light for the camera. However...

Now I'm not saying that Red's short or anything, but he does appear to be a bit smaller than Saga...

Well, what can I say? Saga is the star of this blog after all... :)

So does anyone else want to share tricks of the trade for handling abscesses? Other than shoeing with pads, of course. Red will probably stay in but be OK for light riding until the farrier comes out next week and we'll see if either the abscess isn't deep enough to worry about, or if he needs shoes and pads until it finishes growing out. I'm hoping for the first option!

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