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Treating an Abscess with Kirk Adkins

Treating an Abscess with Kirk Adkins

Founder and President of Equithotics, Kirk Adkins, has over 40 years of farrier experience. Farrier and Instructor of Farrier Science, Adkins has long been an advocate of Equitopia’s work and contributor to our educational resources. We talked with him to discuss the “how-to” behind treating abscesses in horses at home and what causes them.

Adkins explained that an abscess is an accumulation of pus caused by either bacterial or fungal attributes that find their way into the hoof capsule. Most commonly, like this particular case, the abscess starts at the hoof wall junction.

Lameness occurs when the horse bears weight or the pressure of the abscess is so great that it causes pain to the live tissues in the hoof. 

Adkins explained that Wally, previously an FEI-level competitive dressage horse, had a “gravel” type of hoof abscess on the inside heel of the right hind. He detailed that this type of infection tracks up the inside of the wall and breaks out at the coronary band if not opened at the bottom of the wall at the junction with the sole. This allows drainage and provides access to medications. The hoof was trimmed to the moisture line of the sole which relieved a bit of the hoof wall to facilitate poulticing and drainage.

The poultice that the veterinarian supplied was then applied and the hoof was wrapped. The wrap  consisted of a baby diaper with the poultice,  blue paper shop towels for additional padding, gauze, then self-adhesive bandage. A woven duct tape patch was cut diagonally at each corner to facilitate a good watertight  foot cover, then wrapped with a perimeter layer of tape to bind the layers together.A foot soak of warm water and 1 ounce of bleach was done after 2 days, and the foot was rewrapped in the same manner. Three days more and Wally was comfortable and was shod. A commercial medicated hoof packing was wrapped against the drain site for a few more days until completely healed.

To learn more about Kirk Adkins and his company Equithotics, please visit

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