We've been working on the abscess from hell since July 2010. I went to look at a trail horse, but ended up taking Tommy home on trial. He had an abscess, but I went ahead and bought him anyways because I'd only had NORMAL abscess experiences prior to this. We pulled shoes and found a major abscess:
We ended up having to resection the hoof. By "we" I mean Dr. Alexander at East River Equine Hospital.
You can't see it from the above photo, but the interior was open to the coffin bone. Xrays revealed ring bone and side bone in both front legs, and a puncture wound in the coffin bone. Long story short, he did not appear to be rideable. I am a stubborn cuss though, and I had it in my head he was fixable. So I ignored the worst parts and focused on what I could fix.
Tom was on stall rest for months. He had daily soakings and medications for months, and then we finally got to the point where we could cover the sole with a pad and secure it with a shoe. Then I only had every other day treatments!
It was a long, long road with lots of money in several vets, horse hospitals, farriers, antibiotics, pain killers, medications, vetwrap, diapers, and supplements.
In August we were almost home free. The hoof was almost entirely grown out. The hole was mostly filled in, but it was smooshy - like a big soft marshmallow. The next shoeing would see if complete.
These pictures make me happy. They say P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S.
Then in mid October Tommy came up dead lame. Dr. A came out the very next day. The abscess had come out the top of the heel, so he had another dose of antibiotics and was poulticed and buted and I treated it as a normal abscess. Tommy was walking better within a week.
Our farrier appointment had gotten pushed back a few weeks due to a scheduling conflict, but yesterday was the big day. When he pulled the shoe we saw that the original abscess site had been infected as well. Quite a bit of the new tissue was eaten up by the infection.
I know you can't really judge the depth, but the hole is 1/2 - 1" deep, and in addition to that it now has a channel eaten out from the hole through to the frog. That piece of hoof between the hole and the frog is hollow underneath.
Luckily for me my awesome new-ish farrier was meeting with Dr. A today and Tommy was going to be one of the topics. I did a Clean Trax soak today and booted up with Easy Boot RX again. I wish I'd bought more Clean Trax at QH Congress while it was on sale for $10 each! I'll be doing another soak or two in the next week.
My plan for Monday morning is to give Dr. A at East River Equine Hospital a call and see if he can get Tommy in this week. Maybe I'm gun shy after dealing with it so long, but this looks really bad. If we have to do another resection I don't want to wait on it. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if I came out one day and his leg had just plain fallen off.
Fingers crossed and curb chain jingles for Tommy.