I Grow Weary of Horses’ Feet

I actually grow weary of just ONE horse’s feet, and that’s my buddy, Apache. It’s always something with that dude and his feet! It’s because he has a metabolic disorder that makes him prone to foot issues, no matter how hard we try to manage his food and environment.

To cheer things up, here’s a picture of baby Bess, who loves to hide under the cattle chute.

The latest episode started a week ago, when Sara texted me that he was lame and had thrush. I wasn’t surprised that he’d get a yeast infection, considering that it had been raining so much. She put the green coppery anti-thrush stuff on his feet for me.

When I got time to inspect Apache thoroughly on Monday, I looked at his feet, and they didn’t look thrushy to me, and in fact, they didn’t to Sara, either. But I slathered the stuff on anyway. It is smelly stuff, all right.

Next, Sara spotted some redness on his hoof, which made her think his lameness was due to an abscess, not thrush. The poor boy kept picking up his foot to show us, as if to say, “Help, this hurts.” Nothing we were doing was making him feel better, so we went into overdrive. Yesterday, I gave him some pain medicine, which seemed to help, and I called one of the local vets. He couldn’t come out, but he told me to go get “drawing salve” (icthamol) and put it on Apache’s feet to draw out the pus.

The red area at the top of his hoof.

He said to have the farrier look at him, but I couldn’t get in touch with Trixie.

So, the second I had a break at work this morning, I ran over to the farm and ranch store, hoping they would have the stuff. Miraculously, they did, though the helper guy had never heard of it. Then, as I was at the grocery store to pick up applesauce to worm Ace, the other Problem Metabolism Child at the ranch, it occurred to me that today was Thursday! It still is!

That matters, because the other vet we use, Dr. Amy, is in town on Thursdays. I dropped by her mobile clinic, and there was no one else there, so I was able to ask her what she thought we should do, or whether she should come look at him herself. She said we were doing the right stuff, but gave some other ideas and prescribed antibiotics, too. So, I left there with that and some iodine, in case he needed to soak his feet to draw out the abscess.

The icky abscess.

By the time I got home, Sara had found the abscess had burst of its own accord. That sounds bad, but it means immediate pain relief. Apache was walking a bit better and seemed perkier. With Sara helping, I got to work putting the salve on his hoof, which didn’t seem to hurt too much or anything. We bandaged it all up, and he seemed happy to get all the attention.

Fancy bandage.

Then, I made him a medicine-enriched feed bowl, and was a bit worried he wouldn’t eat it. But, the antibiotics smell GREAT, and he seemed to love them, even with Liver Flush (which he does NOT like) in there. (I have no idea what Liver Flush does, but apparently Trixie said to give it to him last time she was here).

It’s good, so I guess I’ll eat it.

Fiona kept trying to “help” Apache eat, and he really preferred HER tiny bowl of plain low-calorie horse food, but eventually, I got him to eat it all.

Fiona was so hungry that she blurred my photo!

Next, we went to deal with flushing out Spice’s wound from her cancer surgery, and give Ace all his wormer. This was easier said than done, because a steer got all wound up and got between Sara and the horses and the gate out. No idea what’s up with the steer. He should have a talk with Haggard, who is still sweet as pie and loves to eat his cattle cubes from my hand.

I’m so happy that Suna had to censor my picture.

By the time it was all over with, I was a MESS. It’s a good thing the only meeting I had left in the day was with a coworker who also lives out in the country. He just laughed along with me, especially when I tried to put my headphones on over my cowboy hat.

Thanks for all the love!

Let’s hope Apache’s back on the road to hoof happiness, at least for a little while! We’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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