Ship speed applies to in stock items, pending location. Does not include personalized items like engraving, embroidery, SmartPaks, or PortionPaks. Complete details on our Shipping Policies page.
SmartPaks help you take great care of your horse, so we take great care of you with SmartPerks! When you order your horse's supplements in SmartPaks, you're automatically* eligible for our FREE SmartPerks benefits, including:
  • Free ground shipping on what you want, when you want it
  • 10% off all Smartpak brand tack, apparel, and gear
  • A free Team SmartPak calendar, exclusive email offers and discounts, and more!
Learn more about SmartPerks
*At least one horse's individual SmartPaks must be over $40. Some exclusions apply.
Visit or call 1-800-461-8898 for details.

Hoof Abscess

By: Dr. Lydia Gray

What is it?

A hoof abscess is a bacterial infection inside the hoof that can cause horses to be suddenly and severely lame. Any break in the hoof wall-sole junction such as a misplaced nail, crack or puncture wound can allow contaminated debris inside the hoof where it migrates to living tissue. The body responds by sending white blood cells (neutrophils) to fight off the invaders. The smelly, gray/black discharge from a hoof abscess is a combination of these white blood cells, the bacteria they are fighting off, and hoof tissue that has been destroyed in the process.

What can be done about it?

Left untreated, most hoof abscesses will travel upwards and burst out at the softer coronary band. However, farriers and veterinarians prefer to pare an opening in the bottom of the foot for drainage to relieve the pain sooner and avoid potential complications. In addition, experts suggest replacing traditional hoof soaks—which may also lead to problems in the future—with poultices, other drawing agents, and kits made especially for hoof abscesses.

What else do I need to know?

The classic appearance of a hoof abscess is a horse that unable to bear weight on one front leg, a warm hoof, and a “bounding” digital pulse. Sometimes there is swelling in the pastern. A veterinarian should examine horses that do not improve with treatment, or have pain in more than one leg, an obvious injury, or repeated abscesses, as these signs could indicate a more serious condition such as laminitis or fracture.


About Dr. Lydia Gray


Healthy Horses  ❤  Happy Riders