Poor, sweet Darla has been suffering from a bad hoof abscess over the holidays at SAFE. Despite starting treatment (soaking and Epson salt poultices), her pain level became more severe. We called our veterinarian, Dr. Renner, for a visit. X‑rays showed a significant hematoma had formed in her front left hoof, putting a significant amount of pressure on her coffin bone. We don’t know what caused this injury or when it happened, but the hoof had experienced some traumatic event.
Darla was started on SMZ (antibiotics) and Bute for pain. We continued soaking and wrapping in an Epson salt poultice. After a few days the pain increased and we added Tramadol for more pain management. She was kept in a deeply bedded stall with a camera monitoring her for 24-hour surveillance. While she has been a fairly willing patient, she did not like being given oral medications so we will have to work on that.
Finally, during the first week of January the abscess opened and started to drain. There is at least one port at the front of her coronet band and possibly another on her medial heel bulb. She is MUCH more comfortable now and is able to put some weight on the hoof. We will continue soaking the hoof with Epson salts with a splash of iodine as an antiseptic for the open area. We are also using Animalintex poultices (these were donated and we’re very grateful for them because they are pricey) to cover the port area to help encourage more drainage. We will keep the hoof wrapped, clean and dry as the area finishes flushing out and heals. We are so grateful that she is on the road to recovery and we will have our sweet Darla healthy and happy very soon!