Abscess in Horses



On occasion, a veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic to cure the infection affecting that particular area of the horse's body. Never drain an abscess yourself. If the abscess has not been present for long, the wound may be cleaned with an antiseptic scrub.

To drain the infection, the veterinarian may use a poultice -- a soft moist mass which is often heated and medicated, and then applied over the infected area. Sometimes, the veterinarian will take a sample (culture) of the pus and send it to a lab to see what type of bacteria is causing the infection. This may help dictate which antibiotic is used, or if an antibiotic is needed at all. If the abscess is in the hoof, the hoof may have to be trimmed.

The course of treatment varies from case to case (and may be determined by the type of infection as well as the location of the abscess), so do not attempt to administer treatment yourself.


Living and Management


Caring for a horse with an abscess does not have to be tricky. After the abscess has been treated, keeping it clean is critical. Make sure the area is healing and pay close attention to your horse's overall health. If other symptoms appear, such as lameness or change in appetite, have your horse re-examined by a veterinarian immediately. Many horses will feel immediate relief once the abscess has ruptured.