The traditional method for dealing with a hoof abscess has typically involved daily foot soaks in Epsom salts.? But could this actually be damaging your horse?s foot, instead of helping it to heal?? When excess moisture enters the hoof wall, it causes damage by softening and weakening it, which can lead to the horse walking more on his sole and causing discomfort.? It can also prevent an abscess pocket from fully draining and drying up.
A much better option is to poultice the hoof.? A poultice allows for constant moisture and medication without damaging the hoof in the manner of soaking.? It is possible to purchase pre-made, medicated poultices that are ready to apply to your horse?s foot.? Follow the instructions carefully ? usually you will need to soak the poultice in hot water before applying it to the hoof.? An alternative to purchasing this type of product is to make your own poultice.? Although there are many recipes that can be used, a common and simple poultice is to mix two parts wheat bran and one part Epsom salts.? The mix should be moistened enough to allow it to be packed on the hoof.
An easy way to apply the poultice is using a disposable diaper.? If the foot needs to sweat, use a plastic covered diaper and cover the foot with duct tape.? Alternatively, if it is desirable for the hoof to breathe, try using a non-plastic diaper and then use VetWrap to wrap the hoof.? For added protection, a rubber boot can be used, although it can often be difficult to fit the poulticed foot into a boot.? The poultice should be changed either daily or every other day and continued until the abscess has broken open and fully drained, which usually takes a few days.