Happy New Year from all of at Temecula Creek Equine. With the recent rains, there has been an increase in the number of hoof abscesses we have been seeing. The most common symptom we hear is that the horse was fine yesterday, and now he is three legged lame. The horses can be so lame that owners will think that the horse may have a fracture. Hoof abscesses are very painful for the horse. It would be like having a blood blister under your toe nail, and then having to walk around on it. Some causes of abscesses may be due to a lack of cleaning out the foot in a muddy environment, overgrown sole trapping debris, a newly trimmed foot which leaves the foot more open to packing in bacteria from the environment, nail holes from shoes which weaken the hoof wall, or foot injuries such as bruising. Hoof abscesses are usually easily treated and heal quickly. Once the abscess is located and drained the horse feels immediate relief. However there are some abscesses that may be deep in the foot and cannot be opened up immediately. These may take time soaking the foot, and possibly poultice for up to 2 weeks. Please see the article below for a more in-depth look at hoof abscesses and how you can recognize, treat, and prevent them.