Yes, It Was an Abscess
Three cheers for the horsey bloggers who frequent this blog.
I am relieved to tell you all that my vet found evidence of a bruise/abscess in Chance's hoof. It had "blown" out through his heel, but he is still a little off. I will need to soak it, use an Icthamol poultice, and wrap it for four days, and he should be fine. He can also go out, which is nice for him.
What I had never seen before was the rather dramatic filling and heat in his leg caused by the abscess. Apparently the abscess sets up an inflammation in the hoof that compromised the blood flow into the leg. Dr. Klayman says some horses' legs fill up all the way into the knee. I've known a number of horses with food abscesses but never seen that reaction, so it kind of freaked me out.
Thank goodness, as this is an easy fix.
However, for all the barefoot afficianados out there--my vet also suggested a set of front shoes. Since Chance is now my second young horse who has proven prone to bruises/abscesses, I am inclined to agree.
My friend, Stacie, has a big beautiful horse who has been lame for several weeks now too--same leg as Chance. She has had all kinds of tests done, and yesterday, a good race track vet from the area told her that her horse had an abscess/bruise as well. She will be treating him for that at the same time I am treating Chance. Here's hoping both "kids" are truly suffering from the same probelm as this is one of the easiest problems to cure and one of the less serious possibilties to explain lameness.
As a side note here. A very good stable in my State lost some horses and had other very sick horses from what turned out to be Potomac Horse Fever. Since there is a vaccine for this, I asked my vet about it for my horses. Herewith, his response summarized:
The Potomac vaccine is apparently not very reliable. It was passed through before all the stringent tests they require now and never had an real clinical studies for how well it works. He said some vets don't like it because if the horse does get Potomac with the vaccine, the symptoms are then often misdiagnosed. He said he has never had an incidence of the disease around here. It is not passed horse to horse but the vector is a snail. He said the snail and disease are more common in Bedminister and his theory is that the snail cannot live in the sandier soils of Central/South Jersey. He does not vaccinate his own horses. He has the vaccine and was willing to give it but I opted out. He also said our horses get so many vaccines already, unless it's truly needed he prefers not to add to the "load" horses with things they don't need.
What is also interesting is that it seems no one kept records or reports of how many of the horses in the latest outbreak had been vaccinated. One would think this would have been a significant bit of information to judge the efficacy of the vaccine in a "real world" situation.
So, this ends the lastest medical report from Follywoods. All is well again...or almost well.