Thursday, January 01, 1998

Bruises and abcesses

I just finished reading volumes 139 thru 144 and thought I would give a little advice on the abscess and bruising questions. I live in an area that is very rocky and very muddy. ( Ever ridden at Rock Creek in SW Washington?) And have had very few problems with bruises and abscesses, but not as much as many other people in this area. I got some good advice from a local vat, and a local shoer and have been passing it along to everyone who will listen. First off, I have always fed a biotin supplement. My work rehabilitating badly foundered ponies convinced me that it is worth its weight in gold. And of course, I feed well. Endurance people as a general rule have this part all figured out. But I also spray my horses feet with a mixture of equal parts Formaldehyde, Tincture of iodine( AKA: stronger, or 7% iodine) and Venice turpentine. I use thick rubber gloves when spraying it on clean feet. I spray them for three days in a row after shoeing and once a week after, unless it`s very wet weather, then I spray every other day. I can tell you from experience that this will toughen up a horses feet like nothing else and also kills bacteria and thrush and seems to help prevent white line disease. I ride at least three or four days a week on an Arab/Appy cross who is a natural endurance horse. She loves to go hard. She has excellent feet and has a very long walk for a horse her size. She is 14h. She prefers to canter on almost all terrains. Usually our rides are between 15 and 20 miles in the rocks and mud of the local mountains, going from 1500 to 4000 feet in about 8 miles carrying about 200lbs of me and gear. ( I race alot lighter) We wear out our heel and toe shoes in six weeks. And I mean wear them out down to soup can lids, or in some cases, pieces. And in the last 2 1/2 years of this my horse has had one small abscess that did not cause any lameness and a couple of small bruises that also didn`t cause any problems. My shoer is always amazed by the wear on my shoes and the quality of my horses feet. Sorry I`m a little long winded here but I truly believe in this stuff and think everyone should use it. The ingredients are not hard to get. Usually the venice turpentine and the tincture of iodine can be bought at the local feed/tack/livestock supply store or through several of the mail order catalogs. The formaldehyde is a little trickier. Apparently some local vets used to carry it or the mixture to sell to horse owners but there was a question of liability due to the fact that Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. So now you need to order it from a pharmacy. I order mine at the local HiSchool Pharmacy, I have also ordered it from the Fred Meyer pharmacy. It`s about $11 a pint. The iodine and turpentine are less, about $6-7. Mix it using equal parts of each in a large glass jar or wide mouth bottle. The venice turpentine is rather like honey that has started to sugar, so stir or shake it very well before putting it in a good quality spray bottle. Use a coarse spray to keep it from going every where and always use gloves when mixing or applying.


I`d like to add a caution here - most solvents (formaldehyde and turpentine included) pass through standard rubber gloves quite easily. If you`re going to be using/handling these products, you should consider getting real chemist`s gloves from an industrial or scientific supply company. They carry gloves with specific resistance to specific compounds. Then you`ll know for sure that those crazy little molecules won`t end up making YOU crazy...

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