Q: My horse has gotten a
severe staff infection in all four feet which has affected his heels and caused
a deep crack in them. He has been on antibiotics for 2 weeks as well as I am
putting liquid tetracycline in the crack. It is getting better slowly, but I was
wondering if you had ever seen this before. My vets have not, nor has my
blacksmith. They believe it is due to the extremely wet conditions we have had
this year and to the fact that my horses immune system does not seem to be
strong enough to fight off this type of infection. I have put him on Farriers
Formula, Strongid C, and MSM, as well as 3 shots of Equistim, but I was
wondering if you had seen this before and if there might be something else I can
do to prevent this from happening again. I have not been able to ride him
because his heels have been so sore and tender. I would appreciate any input you
A: Without seeing your horse it
is a little difficult to know if these cracks run horizontally or vertically.
This could have some bearing on the treatment given. As far as infections in the
horse's foot, I have dealt with abscesses due to laminitis, stone bruising,
puncture wounds, thrush, canker, etc. I have found that putting the horse on
systemic antibiotics very rarely does much good for infections in the horse's
feet. I have, however, had success with three products which I will mention so
that you can discuss them with your veterinarian.
First of all packing or bandaging feet and using ichthammol as a drawing agent
can be beneficial. Applying Durasole to combat infection and to toughen the
horny laminae sometimes helps. Also frequently useful is liquid antibiotic
applied directly into the infected area. A convenient source of liquid
antibiotic is that which is sold for use against mastitis in cows' udders and
comes in plastic syringes with flexible blunt tips. It has knocked out many
abscesses and infections for me. Some brands contain steroids and I always make
sure NOT to get those. I need to state again that I am not a veterinarian nor am
I prescribing these medications. Discuss them with your vet.
You might be able to assist your horse's sore and tender heels by having your
blacksmith put on heart bar shoes. He should relieve weight bearing of the heels
on the shoe about the thickness of a hacksaw blade, from the 3rd nail hole back
. I would also suggest that you might want to direct inquiries to
www.horseshoes.com in the "farriers helping horse owners section".
It wouldn't hurt my feelings if you got back to me and let me know how things
work out. I would appreciate knowing what procedures you have tried, and what
worked and what didn't work.
The Village Blacksmith