Yesterday I hauled Arabee down to a new vet - not new to the area, but new to us. We/I decided it was a good idea to switch our equines to someone who specializes in equines, and I have to say it was a good experience yesterday. It was nice to deal with a vet who wasn't afraid of my "large animal" or who wanted to handle her like a cow.
Drove the almost 45 minutes down there, stopped in the office and found out I had driven too far, that I'd need to back up about 75 feet, around a curve, and then drive around the barn to the horse examining area. Interesting, because backing isn't really my thing! But, I was very slow, and actually VERY successful doing so! In front of us in line was a pair of gray geldings - the trailer hauling them in had Henryville, IN written on it, and Rocky Mountain Horse stickers everywhere. They were getting their teeth floated. They left, I pulled the truck and trailer up a little bit farther, and waited until they were ready to see us. (it's so funny...I'm used to taking my daughter to her well-child doctor's appointments, and I am using the same language as I am now talking about taking my HORSE to the VET! "...they were ready to see US")
So the tech came out and asked me what was going on, I explained that on 8/2, the rescue 20 helicopter had flown overhead very low, and that evening she'd come in pretty lame on the left front/right hind, so I figured she hurt herself trying to get away from that, but she had significantly improved the next day, and incrementally gotten better each day after that, so I assumed she was on the mend. We left for vacation on 8/8, got back 8/15, and she still had a slight lameness. Towards the end of that week, she was getting progressively worse again, and that weekend was very obviously sore on the left front. I called the vet and set up an appointment, and as soon as they could fit us in, we came.
She had me unload Arabee, and take her into the exam room. They had a stall, a tie area, two sets of stocks, and rubber floor mats. Another horse was in there, with his feet being soaked (for abscesses, go figure!). Arabee was glad to see that other horse, and quickly calmed down and stood quietly. The vet came out and had the tech walk Arabee so she could see - she was tense and hiding the lameness a little, but it was still obvious. Brought her back in the building, and felt her leg and hoof carefully, then picked up the hoof and started cleaning it, used the hoof testers, and started cutting sole away. I asked if she had a hunch of what it was at this point, and she was pretty sure already it was an abscess. She'd already found a little hole at the bottom of her sole that when she squeezed the hoof next to it with the hoof tester, would ooze liquid.
Apparantly an abscess is good news. While it does cause big time lameness, it's temporary, and she said that with this wet summer, that they've seen a LOT of abscesses locally. She said there wasn't much you could do to prevent them, aside from shoeing your horse, but even shod horses can get them. She asked who my farrier was, and I told her I'd been doing the trimming myself, and the hope was to keep her barefoot, and boot with easyboots or renegades when needed.
She slathered a piece of cotton with Magnapack, an epsom salt gel poultice-like green product, and then wrapped the entire bottom of her foot up to her pastern in cotton batting, then vetrap, then duct tape across the bottom of the hoof. I am supposed to soak her leg, bandage and all, in warm water with epsom salts once/day, and change the bandage every 3-4 days. So unfortunately for Arabee and for me, this means stall rest. Again! She just really hates that, and I do too, since it means hauling water buckets and manure, and hay. Oh well, if it will keep her foot clean which will get her sound faster, it'll be worth it.
I am seriously considering purchasing a pair of Easyboot Soaker boots. Not just for this application, but since I've been soaking Jack's feet for thrush once weekly, and probably will start doing Arabee's too, it'd be way handier to use these boots than try to get them to stand in that rubber tub.
I still want to do a thorough web search of how to treat abscesses, especially barefoot hoof style abscess treatment. If anyone has any helpful links or knowledge, send it my way, please!