Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dealing with Fetlock Sores

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but all of the horses are getting really bad fetlock sores at my barn, including Casey.
I've heard these sores called many names. Fetlock sores, bed sores, and paddock sores seem to be the most common names. These sores are caused by the horses rubbing on something - typically as they try to lie down. These sores most frequently occur on the front fetlocks, as the horse falls onto their front fetlocks when they lie down. The sores also frequently occur on the hocks of horses.
Fetlock sores
In Casey's case, these sores are really only on her front fetlocks, and she is getting them because she likes to use her nice bedding as her pee spot and then lies down on the gravel. Stupid horse... I'm probably not going to be able to change her behavior (although I think I might throw down a lot more bedding to see if she will actually lie on it), but I do need to do something about the sores.
Fetlock sores
Basically, early treatment is the best way to handle fetlock sores. When I caught them on Casey they had just started to form. The hair was gone and the skin was getting cracked. If I had left it though, the sores could have turned into open wounds which attract flies and can get infected. These sores can get bad enough that they need veterinary care. I caught them before they got bad though and so I just needed to keep them from getting worse.
Can't have a hurt horsie!
In order to prevent Casey from making the sores worse, I got some medium bell boots and put them on her facing the wrong direction (so that the cup surrounded her fetlock). The purpose of this is just to provide a layer of protection between her skin and the ground. In addition, I could have put some gall salve on it, but since they weren't too bad my trainer said Casey probably didn't need it. I leave the bell boots on when she is in her paddock and when I take her out I take them off. I don't know how long she will need them for, my guess is that as soon as it starts raining she will start to lie down in her shed, but for the meantime, this is an easy and cheap way to prevent her from getting more sores.
Prevention method: Upside-down bell boots
Do your horses ever get fetlock sores? What do you do to stop them or treat them?
Casey is much happier with her bell boots on

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