DSLD --- Abcess --- Help for senior horse. Please help!

Hello Fellow equine forum friends!

I’m looking for help with my paint horse who has bad DSLD in both back legs (right hind fetlock is worse).

He is on previcox for pain which we just started a week ago and has helped with swelling. Prior to that we alternated with bute/banamine every other day.

He abcessed in his left front a week ago and due to not putting weight on that caused swelling in his right front and he was unable to even walk without assistance. The vet came out and gave him IV bute, banamine, and dex with ulcer meds. His abcess was at the tip of his frog and likely from thrush (we have a muddy season here now). We put him on antibiotics (Tribrissen) for a week along with the previcox for pain.

He was doing 98% better. A little bit of swelling in the front right due to extremely tender left foot. Other than that, no limping, minimal swelling in hind DSLD legs — best hes been in months! Saturday was his last day of antibiotics.

He was going out 12+ hours a day (he can go in and out as he chooses, we lock in over night) and all of a sudden yesterday (sunday) was not out quite as much. I was aware, but not too cocnerened as everything else seemed ok. He was still just slightly tender on the abcess foot and again a little swelling in the other front as a result.

Today, (Monday) he was stiff all over and sore in his hind end again. He hardly went out all day. The vet said that there was a lot of raw tissue growing back in his abcess foot and put him on two more weeks of antibiotics. He said I could use bute/banamine tonight to help with pain but to go back to just previcox in the am.

Any thoughts on this??? I’m desperate and at a loss. I know he doesn’t have a lot of time left with me, but I’m just not prepared for that yet I want to keep him as comfortable as I can for as long as possible.

Keep him on the pain meds and wait. Have you had any bloodwork done? Perhaps further diagnostics would help determine if something else is systemically wrong and compromising his health. And how old is the horse?

You might already be wrapping the foot, but if not, protecting the sore foot with a boot or vet wrap + something to buffer the ouch (diaper, styrofoam, etc.) should help some if the abscess pressure isn’t acute. I’ve found the Easy Boot Rx boots to be a good value for the amount of protection they offer.

DSLD is miserable–so sorry you are dealing with this! Standing wraps can offer some more support, too, in times of extra stress (especially when putting more weight on one leg). It might be hard to wrap low depending on the angle of his pastern & fetlock, but offering some stability in a bit lower position than a normal standing wrap (more like a shipping wrap) seemed to help my DLSD guy. Abscesses can make them look really stiff, too, just from the tension caused by keeping weight off of one foot.

Sounds like a good thing, though, that he did improve on the antibiotics and was feeling good for a stretch! I haven’ t heard of a connection between DSLD and IR or Cushings, but many abscesses can be a symptom of the latter (or be just part of a compromised immune system–related to DSLD). Might be something to ask your vet–and also to consider adding some anti-oxidant vitamins (like E) and/or probiotics to help him through this crisis. Hope he is back to feeling good again soon (and you too).

X-rays might help you see if anything else is going on in that foot. A big abscess might need to be opened up.

I agree about the Easy boot rx often being helpful. Also, make sure he has plenty of shavings in his stall so it is soft and comfortable.

You might want to read this site for option sin treating DSLD:


Is he shod with egg bars or straight bar shoes behind? These provide support to the suspensories. The above site also recommends wedging allthough this controversial due to wedging placing more pull on the suspsensories. In the author’s experience (she is a DVM & a CF farrier) she sees immediate relief for the horse when the wedge is added. This can be lowered over time. The site also recommends sports medicine boots, the type with a good suspensory strap like an SMB type. IMO, these are far more supportive than polos or standing wraps with less danger of applying them too tight.

Regarding the abscess, are you keeping that foot covered/bandaged and clean? You said he’s been out in the mud which I’m sure you know doesn’t help. The abscess should be soaked at least 1X/day in very warm water with perhaps epsom salt added to encourage draining.

It would also be a good idea to poultice the area after soaking (and drying with a clean towel) with something like Magic Cushion or ichthammol (both messy but effective) if you’re not already doing that. You might also ask you vet to inject the abscess directly with an antibiotic. IME, systemic antibiotics don’t do much for hoof infections. There’s just not enough blood flow to the area in most cases.

What you’re dealing with is heartbreaking but the above site offers some good suggestions for treatment if these things have not already been done. Disregard the year long stall rest thing though. I think that’s meant for an acute suspensory injury.

Wish you and your horse the best!