Holistic Horsekeeping Newsletter October 2014

October 2014

Holistic Horse Health: Three ways to know if your horse has a bruise or hoof abscess

Holistic Horsekeeping
How to have a healthy happy horse.
Volume 19, Number 10


In This Issue:

1. Holistic Horse Health: Three ways to know if your horse has a bruise or hoof abscess

2. Engage With Others About Holistic Horse Care


1. Holistic Horse Health: Three ways to know if your horse has a bruise or hoof abscess
Madalyn with horseYour horse comes in for dinner with a distinct limp and you are pretty sure the pain is coming from his foot. Your first step is to clean out his hoof and make sure there is no foreign body, such as a nail or offending rock. Next you want to determine if your horse has a bruise or hoof abscess so you can determine the best treatment.

Evaluating for Bruise or Hoof Abscess
There are three ways to determine whether you are dealing with a bruise or hoof abscess.

Number one is level of pain – A horse with a bruise will be sore but generally willing to bear weight on the hoof. A horse with a hoof abscess will be more painful and reluctant to bear much weight on the sore hoof. The reason for this is the type of pain. Blood trapped in a bruise generally creates a sore feeling as it seeps into the surrounding tissues in the hoof. An abscess, on the other hand, is usually confined to a small area as the horse’s immune system seeks to wall off the infection.

Number two is heat and swelling – A horse with a bruise will have very little heat and swelling. The pain from a bruise is due to pressure from the blood that leaked into the tissues. An abscess will have more swelling and heat in the hoof and lower leg as the concentration of white blood cells produces inflammatory chemicals to fight infection.

Number three is response to treatment – A bruise will tend to get better each day once treatment is started. A few doses of the homeopathic remedy, arnica, or a few times of soaking in epson salts will generally take care of a bruise. Topical application of Sore No More will give pain relief while the blood from the bruise is being resorbed back into the body. An abscess does the opposite. An abscess gets worse each day as more white blood cells build up in an effort to fight the infection. Relief does not occur until the abscess builds enough pressure to break to the outside of the hoof. Homeopathic remedies, such as silica, will help hasten the abscess to break to the surface. Warm epson salt soaks can also help. Antibiotics or non steroidal anti inflammatory agents will slow the maturation process of an abscess causing a delay in healing.

Hoof bruises are uncomfortable for a horse but rarely lead to serious problems. Abscesses can be more serious, especially if they do not respond to treatment within a few days. Recurring abscesses can indicate bone damage within the hoof capsule or poor circulation to the feet. Chronic hoof abscesses can also be a sign your horse is not eliminating toxins through normal channels. Strong, healthy hooves are less likely to bruise or abscess.

Natural Solutions for Hoof Support
Blue green algae and blue green algae plus probiotics are excellent whole food supplements to support healthy hooves. NitroPro is an excellent product to increase circulation to the lower legs and feet.  Milk thistle and dandelion root are herbs that help the liver clear toxins from the body. These herbs can be given for a 7 to 10 day course once a month if a horse is prone to chronic abscesses.

2. Engage With Others About Holistic Horse Care
Ever feel like you are all alone in caring for your horse holistically? Want to have others of the same mind to bounce ideas off of and exchange information? You’re not alone. We have people contact us daily that don’t have a holistic vet in their area or that are boarding at a barn with strict non-holistic rules or just need advice on natural treatments. Consider joining us on Facebook for information from Dr. Ward and sharing with others interested in holistic horse care. You can find us at https://www.facebook.com/HolisticHorsekeeping. If you are interested in the Horse Temperament Typing, you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HorseHarmony.

We also have our Horse Health Hotline Group. There is lots of information available that anyone can read and see if a problem similar to yours has been covered. If you’d like to join the group and have ongoing interaction with Dr. Ward and others who are caring for their horses holistically, then we’d love to include you. There is a one time $40 fee to join, but that gets you a lifetime membership. You can see more about this group at http://holistichorsekeeping.com/resources/horse-health-hotline.

Another way to stay connected is to subscribe to our blog/newsletter and leave comments. You can sign up at http://blog.horseharmony.com/. Through the magic of the internet you can stay connected and be part of the holistic horse care community.

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