I Have A Three-Legged-Lame Horse, Now What?

I Have a Three-Legged-Lame Horse, Now What?

So, what do you do when you arrive at the barn
and find your horse is “three-legged-lame?”

Here’s a little advice for horse owners to each blog. These come from over 50 years in the industry. Yep, I’m celebrating 50 years working as a tech and then vet,  which started at UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in 1973 to now. I am still involved in the care of horses with publications and advising fellow practitioners.

  1. Panic and call the vet no matter the time of day? (I did. Thankfully, I only had to call myself…)
  2. Perform a few diagnostics and then make the call?
  3. Get out the gun? (Not an advisable alternative)

Over my time as a vet, I would say that 95% of 3-legged-lame horses have a “sole abscess.” Sole abscesses usually (but not always) come from dirt and bacteria that have migrated through the white line and up into the interface of live and innervated tissue inside the hoof capsule. Think of it like a blood blister under your fingernail. OUCH.

Without going into the treatment today, let’s just discuss the diagnosis.

The typical findings:

  • Acute almost non weight-bearing lameness
  • With or without swelling above the coronary band
  • Strong pulse over the digital arteries behind the fetlock
  • No increased pain with flexion. (Fractures usually react strongly to flexion.)

So, if your horse has a potential sole abscess, wait until office hours to call, unless this will interfere with gym class, dropping the kids at school or finish your Wordle. For those that need to “DO SOMETHING”: warm soak the hoof in Epsom salts.  Poultice the hoof. Clean and apply the disinfectant of your vet’s choice. Diapers or nappies and duct tape make great bandages.

I am personally not a fan of digging big hole to get to the abscess. I find these take forever to grow out and seem to be a source for more dirt and bacteria. You also need to check the tetanus vaccine status of your horse.

Update on writing

Did I mention I am preparing to launch a Kindle Vella story about a woman who’s Siri-like, interactive voice goes way past the normal responses to query’s and giving advice and making unauthorized comments??? So, I wanted to call it “Hey Siri.” But the Fruit people (Apple) said “no can do…”.

I need to re-title the series. Any suggestions? Hey Sir? Or Hey Alex?

Send replies Here >>>

The good news is I am back writing, and I have written half of a third book in the Catch and Release series!

Also, here’s a little advice for horse owners to each blog. These come from over 50 years in the industry. Yep, I’m celebrating 50 years working as a tech and then vet,  which started at UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in 1973 to now. I am still involved in the care of horses with publications and advising fellow practitioners.

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