The result of incorrect abscess treatment

Chloe, a 9-year old Quarter Horse mare, had been diagnosed with two abscesses. She was given "special shoes" ( see below ) that were intended to protect her from the mud which was mistakenly diagnosed to be the direct cause of her abscesses. The shoes had actually compounded the problem and as a result the poor horse could barely even walk by the time that she ultimately came to my attention.



The shoes were not only glued to the horn capsule but screws were applied, unintentionally causing new portals of entry for bacterium and thus being counterproductive. Abscesses or in this case horn-maceration is caused by Fusobacterium which can only increase with the absence of air. The first picture below shows that the shoe had been glued on, thus trapping the bacterium in between the horn and the shoe. The second picture shows the exact source of the Fusobacterium, the remains of droppings which as you can see, were left on the hoof and then hastily covered with the shoe without any attempt to at minimum address the obvious non-sterile condition, not that that would have made much of a long term difference as the proper treatment was nevertheless not initiated.

As you can see this approach did not address the cause with proper treatment nor did it even directly address the symptoms. It simply masked the symptoms.


The actual reason that the bacterium could get into the sole is because of the deformation of the horn capsule. The pictures below show how the toe hoof wall is flaring away from the coffin bone. This causes a widening of the lamellar layer (white line). By restoring the physiological hoof shape through hoof orthopedic treatment, the risk of re-occurring abscesses is significantly minimized.


The bacterium undermined the entire sole and frog. The moment it is exposed to air, the bacterium dies and the new healthy horn is produced. The horse walked better immediately the moment it stood on the hoof's newly created bearing edge.

3 days later, sole and frog are protected by a new and harder horn, Chloe is running around on her turn-out without boots. The coronary band of the inner hoof wall becomes decompressed as a result the horn capsule can grow back alongside the coffin bone.


The transformation of a club foot

Jewel, an 11-year old Quarter horse mare with an acquired club foot that had been incorrectly treated her entire life. Many approaches have been unsuccessfully tried out to "fix" the problem, from nailed shoes to glue-on versions. The result is a terribly deformed horn capsule with an enormous discrepancy of hoof wall and hoof-pastern axis, as shown on the x-ray. Jewel has been lame for the last 4 years. At the moment, after only 3 months of hoof orthopedic treatment, she is lame-free but still in boots on her paddock. She will soon walk barefoot again. 

Jewel x ray july 3 2018.jpg

The following pictures show the medial and lateral views. The hoof orthopedic treatment started early September 2018. Treatment intervals were two weeks apart. Jewel’s hoof is still in a boot, as the ground where she walks is hard. The area of the sole where the margin of her coffin bone is situated is of course still very sensitive. The prognosis of her recovery is very good because her sublamellar dermis has not been damaged. Her rehabilitation will continue at least another 7 months, more photos to come...


after 1 month


2 months later


3 months later


5 months later