HomeHorseHorse Foot Abscess: Causes, Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, & Prevention

Horse Foot Abscess: Causes, Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, & Prevention

Horse foot abscess, or ‘Pus in the foot,’ is caused by infection developing perhaps following a penetrating wound, bruised foot, or corn. Infection may also enter via a white line that has become stretched and weakened due to poor or irregular shoeing and trimming. 

Causes of Horse Foot Abscess

It will generally cause severe lameness in which the horse is very reluctant to place any weight on the infected foot. An abscess occurs when the bacteria get trapped inside the hoof and leave behind bacteria. Wet and dry environmental conditions, close nails, hot shoes on a thin sole, piercing wounds, cleanliness, and poor confirmation hooves are the other cause of horse foot abscess. As with any abscess, prompt evacuation of the pus will hasten recovery.

Causes of Horse Hoof Abscess

Abscess in Horse Foot Symptoms

Horse foot abscesses are the most common form of sudden and significant lameness during the wet months of the year. There are different types of symptoms of the problems, and these include:

  • Lameness.
  • Increased heat in the affected foot.
  • Digital pulses felt at the fetlock may be elevated.

Signs of Equine Hoof Abscess

Diagnosis of EquineFoot Abscess

A horse suffering from corn or corns will be lame, although this may be intermittent. Diagnosis is more critical, and your veterinarian performs it. Diagnosis can be made using hoof testers to locate the pain and paring away the sole to reveal the bruising, which shows as a reddish or blood-stained horn.

Diagnosis of Foot Abscess

How do You Treat an Abscess in an Equine Hoof?

Foot abscesses should be poulticed and drained, and this involves careful paring of the sole by your vet or experienced farrier to release the infection. If the disease is not removed and is allowed to fester, it will create more damage until it eventually bursts out at the heels or coronary band. 

Make sure your horse is up to date with his tetanus protection. Antibiotics are not recommended as they suppress the infection and are certainly no substitute for careful examination with a hoof knife. 

Horse Hoof Abscess


There are two kinds of poultice: hot and cold. Cold bandages reduce swelling around bruised areas, and hot applications apply damp heat to draw out an infection.

Many ready-made poultices on the market are quick to use, clean, and do not interfere with the wound. They can usually be used for both hot and cold treatments. You will need:

  • Poultice.
  • Scissors.
  • Hot water for a hot poultice.
  • Plastic bag.
  • Cotton wool.
  • Adhesive bandage.

Clean the underside of the foot thoroughly, as the sole must come into contact with the poultice. Cut the poultice to a size that will cover the affected area. It is better to be too big than too small.

If you want a hot poultice, put it into the water as hot as you can bear. Otherwise, follow the manufacturer’s soaking instructions. Wring out the poultice until it stops dripping.

Press the poultice over the damaged area, medicated side nest to the foot, and cover it with a plastic bag.

Place a thick layer of cotton wool bandage over the plastic.

Bandage over the poultice to secure it and keep the heat in. replace the poultice every 12 hours.

The finished poultice is viewed from the underside of the hoof.

Prevention of your Horse Hoof Abscess

The shoe must be removed and the corn trimmed out. A special shoe can be applied to avoid putting pressure on the area. If the site is infected, poulticing may be required.

Prevention of Foot Abscess

Takeaway points on Equine Foot Abscess

Without bacteria passing through the hoof’s horn, horse foot abscesses cannot occur. It gains access to the tissue inside the capsule of the foot. In my article, I will discuss all the information about the hoot abscess that is very important to a horse lover. Please don’t hesitate to visit my website, theVetExpert, if you have any queries regarding lameness in your horse. Thank you for your time.

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