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Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

Hoof Abscesses


Well, it was bound to happen. After months of drought and rock-hard ground, the rains finally came. And so did the mud — and the hoof abscesses.

Pogo, Catalissa and Trouble Now all promptly developed abscesses shortly after our first big storms. Catalissa was especially of concern, given his previous bout with laminitis. However, Austin Equine Associates came out and xrayed him — and there is no further sign of serious problems (whew).

Pogo was very considerate and made sure that his abscess drained quickly (and at the top of the hoof). Catalissa also is improving steadily. Trouble Now is our most challenging abscess case — with TWO abscesses (he has classic ex-racehorse hooves with thin walls). Fortunately, he loves being in a stall and has been a wonderful patient. He reminds me of those kids who like to stay home sick from school — so they can watch daytime TV all day.

For our hoof wraps, we use a combination of diaper, vet wrap, Magna Paste and Epsom salts. I used to create elaborate duct tape "booties" to finish off the wrap — but now I use Soft-Ride boots instead. They keep the vet wrap and diaper dry — and are much easier to take on and off than the duct-tape versions.

Although abscesses are a chore to deal with, I don't really mind them. After seeing so many horses with more permanent injuries (sesamoid fractures, torn suspensories, etc), I'm happy to work with temporary ailments!


  1. Patricia McGuinn says:

    I am currently rehabbing a TB gelding that I found starving by the side of the road. He had double abscesses in both fronts. Doctored them and kept him in Soft Ride Boots and he has recovered very well. We also have a reining mare that suffered multiple coffin bone fractures. She has worn the boots for 2 years. These boots provide IMMEDIATE relief for these horses. Everyone should have at least one pair. They have saved these horses lives and any further damage.

  2. Chris says:

    Cheers to Glory, here in Indianapolis, had this very problem when we took him off the track!

  3. Cindy says:

    LucyLou got her very first abscess last week! It is something totally new to us & dealing with it, she unlike Trouble is not a good patient, took 4 tranquilizer shots to get her to cooperate & take off the shoe, was better @ bandage change though! Will be looking for the Soft Ride boot

  4. I’m currently dealing with either an abscess or a soft tissue injury – the vet is completely mystified.
    I’m going to try this soft-ride boot. I usually use something less substantial and he trashes it within one wearing.

  5. Melissa Dingman says:

    The Soft-Ride boot looks very handy. I had a QH gelding who got a pretty deep cut on his pastern after catching it on the edge of the barn slide door, and I was always changing that duct tape bootie. It worked well and he healed up fine, but duct tape can be a pain to work with.

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