Horse Nail Puncture Wound Worries

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I am treating my 11-year-old Thoroughbred-cross gelding for a nail puncture to his rear hoof. I did everything the vet said to do (soaking, wrapping, medicating with two antibiotics). An abcess never popped out, so my farrier came out to try to open things up, but that provided no relief either. Buddy has been on bute and I’d like to get him off of that. I know I need to have X-rays taken as the vet has told me that’s the only way we’ll know what’s happening in his hoof with possible navicular bursa damage having occurred. Can you tell me if any of your test trials of LaminaSaver were on horses with injuries or were they all from laminitis or founder' I’m afraid he will have to be put down and I wondered if this might help us avoid that.

HJ Response

LaminaSaver is definitely not the way to go. It also won’t help with a case like this. The ongoing lameness is highly suspicious for infection. Have a talk with your vet about your treatment options and financial limitations. X-rays usually provide limited information on soft-tissue structures, although your veterinarian may have something specific in mind to check for on this horse.

If there is a deep-seated infection, intensive systemic antibiotics, or regional limb perfusion (tourniquet put on the leg and antibiotics injected into a leg vessel in high concentration), or surgical clean out and implantation of antibiotic ”beads” are some of the possibilities. It sounds to us like it’s time to call your veterinarian back in to help.

Sweet Itch Vaccine

I read that a vaccine was being developed for ”sweet itch” and was in the final trials. Can you tell me when we could expect this vaccine' My mare is just miserable.

Horse Journal Response

The vaccine is called BioEos, but it’s being developed in the United Kingdom, so even if approved there it would have to go through a USDA approval process to be used here. In the 2006 trial in the UK, 70% of owners thought the vaccine was successful, but nothing has been published so we don’t know what ”successful” means. 

Horses that don’t respond to Spirulina (more next month) may be helped by chondroitin sulfate, which does the same thing the vaccine is trying to do, switch the immune system from a Th2 (allergy) to a Th1 response. 

Our Dr. Kellon reports she has tried this with two horses so far, and it enabled both to be kept off steroids for the first time in years. Also, the agents that target lipoxygenasese and leukotrienes are on the forefront of treatment of contact allergies and asthma. The active ingredients in EquiSea (www.seacucumber.com, 800-732-8072) target those and this would be worth a try. 

The usual chemical fly sprays don’t work in repelling these midges. For a topical barrier, try a thin layer of Vaseline with a teaspoon of Campho-Phenique and a teaspoon of Calm Coat mixed into the jar. A spray of Bactine first on raw spots will disinfect and anesthetize the area.

Peanuts For Horses

People around the barn have been talking about (and feeding) horses unsalted peanuts in the shell. Someone read an article written by a vet claiming that unsalted peanuts in the shell helps the horse’s digestive tract because of the fiber. The horses seem to love them. Have you heard about this' Are they any good'

Horse Journal Response

If the horse is getting generous amounts of hay the hay is his major source of fiber and he won’t need any additional sources. Peanut shells are much higher than hays in a nonfermentable fiber called lignin, containing about 35% lignin compared to less than 10% for hays. This is what makes them wood-like. If large amounts are fed, this will increase the bulk of the manure.

The shells may help satisfy the ”need to chew” for horses on restricted amounts of hay, or young growths of pasture. They also contain a total of about 6.5% sugar and starch, 21% soluble and fermentable fiber (which gives them their flexibility), 11% protein and 9% fermentable plant sugars.

Because of the high lignin content, the shells are low-calorie. However, peanuts themselves are high fat, at around 50%. Like most seeds and nuts, they also contain much more of the proinflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than the antiinflammatory omega-3s. Peanuts have 24 times more omega-6 than omega-3. They also contain about 25% protein, 8% each soluble fiber and sugar/starch combined. Like grains, they have an inverted calcium:phosphorus ratio (4 times more P than Ca). Trace-mineral levels are low but fairly well balanced. Because of the high fat, pound per pound they contain about 50% more calories than oats.