This spring has been the perfect recipe for hoof abscesses due to the excessive rain and mud. I knew as soon as CJ walked in from the pasture, dead lame on his right front when he had been fine earlier, the likely culprit was an abscess.

Our farrier was scheduled to come to the barn in a few days and I knew he would be able to confirm or deny this assumption, so I decided to treat him like I would most injuries, with microcurrent therapy (MCT).

To treat an abscess with MCT, you can stick an electrode on the bottom of the horse’s hoof and then a return at the bulb of the heels but I prefer the soaking boot method. Once a day I soaked CJ’s hoof in the soaking boot with warm water, epsom salts, and then dropped the wires connected to the microcurrent unit into the water.

After the first two treatments, CJ was significantly more comfortable and almost completely sound. When the farrier came to the barn and used the hoof testers he confirmed that we were indeed dealing with an abscess, and while he was trimming the hoof the abscess opened with a small flick of his hoof knife. I continued the treatments for a few more days to make sure that everything was completely drawn out.

CJ receiving his MCT and soaking boot treatment, licking in enjoyment.

A couple weeks later my other gelding, Django, presented with the all too familiar “sound one day, dead lame the next” symptoms, so I proceeded the same way using the soaking boot with MCT. After a few days of treatment, Django was still uncomfortable. My farrier came out and confirmed he had an abscess as well. However, his was higher up and not ready to open at that time.

Once I knew that we were dealing with an abscess and nothing else, I upped the ante with our treatment protocol and added light therapy, using my SL-50 Laser Light. I would soak his hoof with the MCT in the morning and then use the SL-50 Laser at the bottom of his hoof in the evening.

Each day he slowly got better. After two weeks of treatment Django was sound, happy and got the all clear from our farrier that the abscess had drained and everything was looking great!

The most frequently asked question when people hear about or see me doing this type of treatment is: “Does this shock the horse?” The answer is, no. Mircocurrent is low-voltage and does not shock the horse at all. This particular use of microcurrent helps because water and salt are excellent conductors and allow the microcurrent to either help draw out the abscess or help the body disperse the toxic fluid internally.

I have learned the hard way in dealing with abscesses that I prefer handling them with the use of MCT and light therapy with the guidance of my farrier first, as opposed to calling the vet out right away. Veterinarians are taught to dig the abscess out immediately and then it is up to the owner to keep the hoof clean and wrapped, and in this case risk of infection is high.

One older horse in my barn had a veterinarian dig an abscess out of his hoof, he was left with a deep hole and he never recovered. In the case of Django, with how long his abscess took to drain, if I had let someone dig it out this would have left him with a hole in his hoof that would have taken many weeks to months to completely heal.

Now both boys are sound, happy, and I didn’t have to worry about trying to keep their hooves wrapped up and the potential of infection.

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