Hoof abscesses develop when bacteria become trapped between the laminae and the hoof wall or sole. The bacteria produce pus, which builds up and creates pressure within the hoof.

As the pressure increases, the pain intensifies, reaching its peak just before the abscess ruptures. Once the abscess bursts, the pressure is relieved, and the horse often experiences immediate relief.

In some cases, abscesses can spread deeper into the hoof, affecting structures like the coffin bone, navicular bone, or even extending into the lower leg. This is especially true for chronic abscesses that are left untreated or improperly cleaned. If these deeper structures become infected, treatment becomes more prolonged, costly, and potentially permanent.

Post-rupture, the focus should shift to promoting healthy hoof growth. The damage from an abscess can take six to twelve months to grow out, during which time the hoof remains weakened. Ensuring good nutrition and using supplements like millet and linseed (as found in products like Tendon and Bone) can support healthy and strong regrowth.

An abscess may indicate an underlying issue that needs addressing to prevent recurrence. Horses with conditions like Equine Metabolic Syndrome and laminitis are more prone to abscesses. These conditions can cause hoof wall separation and subsequent abscess formation, sometimes occurring days to weeks after the initial laminitis episode.

A strong immune system is crucial for eliminating infections and metabolic waste. Overloaded systems struggle to recover, necessitating traditional treatments to help expel toxins.

Causes of Hoof Abscesses

  • Fluctuating wet and dry conditions
  • Incorrect shoeing
  • Internal, systemic infections
  • Poor management, such as standing in mud or unclean stalls
  • Insulin resistance or laminitis, leading to hoof damage

Signs of a Hoof Abscess

  • Mild to severe lameness
  • Noticeable digital pulse in the affected leg
  • Swelling in the lower limb
  • Pain response when pressure is applied to the coronet band

Poulticing or Soaking?

Poulticing and soaking can be beneficial if the hoof is very dry. Soaking boots are helpful, but a flexible rubber bucket can be used if a boot is unavailable.

A poultice, made from herbs and other ingredients, is applied directly to the skin to draw out toxins. Apple cider vinegar, diluted 1:10 with warm water, can be used for soaking due to its antimicrobial properties. Manuka honey, with its antibacterial qualities, can also be added to the soak or poultice, helping to sterilize the wound, reduce healing time, and minimize scarring.

Our Product Recommendations

Effective treatment involves breaking down the abscess capsule wall. The herb Red Clover, known for its blood-cleansing properties, helps thin cyst walls, allowing stored toxins to discharge. Blood-cleansing herbal teas like Rosehips and Dandelion are also beneficial during abscess treatment.

Hoof Abscess Program: This combines Alleve8, Infect-A-Clear, and Hoof Heel to help eliminate metabolic waste, reduce pain and inflammation, enhance circulation, and support healing.

  • Alleve8: Reduces pain and inflammation, supporting the healing process for both acute and long-term use.
  • Infect-A-Clear: Stimulates natural elimination processes to clear metabolites and improve immune response. A 12-week course is recommended.
  • Hoof Heel: An oil-based treatment that improves circulation, reduces inflammation, and aids in healing bones and ligaments. It also eases pain associated with various hoof conditions.

Additional Recommendations

Tendon and Bone: Promotes the regrowth of ligaments and attachment points. It contains Elecampane, which stimulates connective tissue and bone cell activity, millet, rich in silica and other minerals, and linseed, which provides Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for ligament strength.

Manuka Honey: With its high mineral, antioxidant, and bioflavonoid content, this honey enhances and protects the horse’s defenses, aiding in wound healing and reducing scarring. Its high sugar content draws moisture from the wound, preventing bacterial growth and encouraging healing.


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