Scout gave me a scare today. I found him pointing his right front foot in front of him. At first I hoped it was my imagination, but nope, he wasn't just shifting his weight. Then I found one of the wooden hay feeders torn to bits. Boards with screws sticking up strewn about. Crap.
I scrubbed his hoof, didn't find a puncture. Checked his leg, it was swollen up to the knee but I didn't feel any irregularities. He reacted to pressure but I think he thought I wanted him to pick his foot up.
I called my vet and in the course of describing the problem realized I'd probably overlooked the obvious because of that torn up hay feeder. I think it's a hoof abscess. Last Tuesday I noted that he was toe-stepping, specifically on that foot. I attributed it to hoof pain because of the newly removed shoes. I rode him Wednesday in Easyboots with no problem. But now it's much, much worse. The heat and swelling seem to be the worst in the heel bulbs. I exfoliated the sole and still did not find any sign of a puncture, bruise, or anything of the sort. (His heels were slightly bruised when I removed the shoes but that was old bruising.) I also found that he walked better over time as we headed from the pasture to the barn. I'd think that might be indicative of an abscess, since movement is supposed to help. But maybe I'm grasping at straws. Abscesses are great, I like them. Because once they rupture the horse is fine and dandy. What I don't want is a puncture, infection, or tendon injury.
I'm following the doctors orders and soaking in Epsom salts and warm water twice a day, with bute twice a day, until Monday. If an abscess doesn't rupture I'll probably have the vet out to see if it may be a tendon or a puncture.
Meanwhile poor Scout is stallbound, to keep his hooves clean and just in case it is a tendon and not an abscess. He liked it at first but when he saw me out in the pasture playing with Tonka he did some banging on the gate. I think he's getting bored. He dumped all his water and scattered the few things I left in reach of the gate. He's pretty predictable that way.