For Love of the Horse

Laminitis 101 – Abscessing

Your horse has been lame for weeks after the laminitic episode.  Is this still laminitis?  No.

An abscess at the coronary band.

An abscess at the coronary band.

The actual episode will only last 3 to 5 days.  After that, the soreness your horse will be exhibiting is due to abscessing, a necessary aftermath of the laminitic episode.  Abscessing is a result of the toxins that build up during the episode.  Because the immune system of an IR horse is not capable of handling this, the result is a bacterial infection within the hoof capsule.  After a laminitic episode, there is dead tissue, fluid swelling, and inflammation remaining within the hoof.  Until the immune system can completely remove this, the hoof remains vulnerable to abscesses.  You can read more about the immune system and this entire process here:

Your horse is going to be very sore during this time, maybe even more sore than when he was during the laminitic episode.  An abscess can last weeks, and even months.  Hopefully, the abscess will “blow” out the coronary band or the heel bulbs, but in some cases they do not.  If they do blow out, this will be a great relief to your horse, almost immediately.  There are a couple things you can do to help your horse during this time.

Soaking the hooves or using an Epsom salt poultice will help to draw out the abscessing and may well give your horse a bit of pain relief also.  Making sure your horse is moving, even if you have to hand walk them, will quicken recovery.  Stalling your horse at this time would be detrimental, even if they are not willing to move much on their own.  Giving them the option to move, and encouraging movement will be the best thing you can do.  Boots also help relieve some of the pressure and will make it a bit easier for them to move.

The best thing you can do is give them a formula from For Love of the Horse called Hoof Ailments.  This herbal solution will relieve pain and inflammation while addressing the abscessing at the source.  Amazingly, the Hoof Ailments formula will rid the hooves of this abscessing while also promoting new, healthy tissue from the inside out.  Treating the abscesses as well as the metabolic dysfunction is important.  If this continues, your horse will eventually risk coffin bone damage and Osteomyelitis (an infectious bone disease).

Patience is definitely key.  Keep your horse as comfortable as possible and know that this WILL end!