Podcast Episode 37: Antibiotics and Hoof abscesses

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Whatever you do, don’t listen to this podcast while you’re eating.

This short podcast on Horse Mysteries Solved talks about the do’s and don’ts of hoof abscesses.

Summary by AI:

Dr. Renee Tucker, an equine veterinarian with over 25 years of experience, discusses antibiotics in the context of hoof abscesses in horses. She explains that antibiotics, while effective against bacteria, also harm the body’s immune system, which is crucial for fighting infections. Dr. Tucker emphasizes the importance of allowing abscesses to naturally come to a head and drain, rather than relying solely on antibiotics and pain relievers like Butte.

She shares personal anecdotes, including her own experience with a tooth abscess, to illustrate the body’s natural healing processes. Dr. Tucker advises against the overuse of antibiotics and suggests natural remedies and herbal alternatives to support the immune system. She concludes by encouraging listeners to prioritize the body’s natural healing mechanisms and to avoid antibiotics whenever possible.

Renee (00:00)
You. Hello, my friends. I hope you’re having a good day. This is Dr. Renee Tucker, equine veterinarian for over 25 years now and also the creator of Tucker Biokinetic Technique, or TBT.

Renee (00:14)
I mention that because I’m going to mention that in my story today, which I hope you’ll love as much as I do. Okay, today we’re talking about antibiotics, particularly as they pertain to hoof app assesses. All right? Many people may know that anti means against, and biotics comes from the word BIOS, meaning life. So antibiotics are against life, and in fact, they affect our entire system and work against things that are living and should be living in us.

Renee (00:47)
I feel like the general public may no, no, Renee, you’re wrong there. It’s anti life, but only the bad guys. But actually, no, it’s not only the bad guys. Antibiotics, they work against bacteria and fungi and spirochetes in some cases, okay? But they are also working against your immune system, which is your T cells, B cells, lymphocytes, phagocytes, macrophages, all those fun guys, they kill all those say, well, isn’t that just what we have to deal with in order to kill the bad stuff?

Renee (01:24)
Well, no, actually, that’s why we have an immune system. So that our immune system, even all those little characters that I just mentioned, t cells, B cells, et cetera, they go and collect stuff that should not be in our body and get rid of it. And that is exactly what an abscess is, as I’m sure we know. Unless you don’t. Well, if you’ve been lucky enough to have a horse without an abscess, they can get them in their feet, and they’re quite painful, primarily because the abscess, it’s a big pus pocket, really, of bacteria and all those white blood cell guys that are working to get rid of something.

Renee (02:09)
All right, sometimes it’s a bruise situation. We had a bruise and then kind of turns into an abscess as the body’s trying to clean it out. Sometimes there might be a foreign body in there, or sometimes dirt gets wedged up in cracks. You just don’t know. But there’s abscesses and the body’s trying to get rid of it.

Renee (02:27)
So why am I bringing this up? Well, because I’m mad about something. All right, here’s what happened my whole life as a veterinarian. If the horse has a hoof abscess, well, we typically use warm water and absent salt. And soak the foot, the warm water brings circulation, and it should be very warm.

Renee (02:52)
Guys, I know some people just kind of use room temperature water. It should be as close to hot as you can get it. And sometimes you might have to start with lukewarm and maybe carry a teapot and keep getting that water really warm. All right? We want as much warm as possible.

Renee (03:09)
And then the Epsom salts is a drawing agent, which means it draws stuff out, which is what the body is trying to do anyways, okay, that’s what you should do. Warm water and Epsom salts soak the foot about 20 minutes. I understand sometimes horses do not tolerate buckets or any kind of putting their foot in something. Then you have to use the old standby of diapers and duct tape, okay? So you soak that diaper, which can absorb an amazing amount of water, and then put the Epsom salts in that as well, and duct tape it on your horse.

Renee (03:48)
And it uses that as a drying agent too. It’s slower. Soaking is better. Okay, you guys may already know that. Here’s what happened, though, is I ran across someone who said her horse had an abscess and it keeps kind of going away and then coming back and going away and coming back.

Renee (04:07)
And I was wondering, well, what’s going on here? Right? Because sometimes that does seem to happen, but you don’t know, well, is it really going away and coming back or is it another one? And what’s going on? In her case, her veterinarian, who shall be nameless, put her on antibiotics and Butte for an abscess.

Renee (04:31)
And I said, wait a minute, did he know there’s an abscess? Oh, yeah, he hoof tested him and blah, blah, blah, blah, just told me it’s an abscess. And here’s my antibiotics impute. I’m like, what in the ever loving this makes no sense. An abscess is the body trying to get stuff out.

Renee (04:53)
What’s trying to get stuff out? The white blood cells in the immune system. What do antibiotics do? Kill white blood cells in the immune system. And then Butte just tells the horse there’s no pain and it’s an anti inflammatory.

Renee (05:10)
The key here is people and veterinarians now at this point, apparently just want to fix things temporarily rather than look at what’s the real problem. And the other thing maybe even more importantly, is that people, we don’t want to be in pain and we cannot stand seeing our animal in pain. And I 100% agree. I don’t either. The thing is, pain won’t kill you.

Renee (05:39)
We’ve been conditioned in our society, at least here in the Western world, if it hurts, get something OMG, get some antibiotics, get some steroids, get some anti inflammatories of some kind, because we don’t do pain. Are you kidding me? And you’re saying, oh, Freddie, no duh. No one wants to do pain, but we have to take care of it, blah, blah, blah. Listen, let me tell you my gross story of my own personal tooth abscess.

Renee (06:09)
You’re just going to love it. Okay, look, yes, a couple of years back, I had a tooth abscess. I know what it was. But I am maybe the top most stubborn person in the world because I’m not going to go to the dentist. They’re just going to give my antibiotics, and if it doesn’t clear up right away, or if it keeps coming back, they pull the tooth out like, dad, I’m not doing that, okay?

Renee (06:31)
So I don’t do that. And I go online and I look for natural remedies. And I’m doing all these things, right? There is indeed warm water and Epsom salts and other things you swish in your mouth. Gargle.

Renee (06:43)
There’s cloves that you can use. What else? Oil pulling, all kind of fun things. I’m doing all these and they all help a little bit. And you know what?

Renee (06:52)
It hurts. I’m sure some of you have had a tooth abscess. It hurts tremendously. And I’m thinking, oh, crap, I really don’t want to go. I just stubborn my way out of it, and it’s really hurting.

Renee (07:04)
Now, look, I am blessed enough that I could reschedule my appointments and just do my online portion of my work when I could, okay? Because it really hurts. I understand that some people may well be in a situation where you got to get to work. You can’t be in pain for a tooth. That’s not acceptable, right?

Renee (07:27)
So my point is, this is what I did, and everyone’s got to do what you got to do. So I was stubborn. I did the natural stuff, which does help a little bit, but it was really painful one night. It was so painful, I swear. I think it took about a week.

Renee (07:42)
It was so painful. It woke me out of a deep sleep. And I’m like, oh, my gosh. And my whole head felt like it was throbbing. It’s awful.

Renee (07:50)
Pain is awful. And then, dude, listen, I bathtub and it had swollen on my gum, and you could kind of see that it was ready to go. You could see a little weak spot, a little yellowish spot. Well, I pushed on it and it hurt like unbelievable. But it busted open and it was disgusting.

Renee (08:12)
It was so gross and so wonderful because it released all the pain and all the stuff, whatever it was, and my body was trying to get out from under my tooth. It went out the side of my gum. It was freaky. Honestly, I didn’t even know that could really happen. But the body will do amazing things to get stuff done.

Renee (08:36)
So that was it. It just busted open. That was the end of it. Kind of swished my mouth out and that’s done. Tooth is fine.

Renee (08:42)
All is well. Part of me wonders if my body was trying to get rid of the rest of the mercury from the mercury amalgams. I had gotten those removed several years back. But, you know, it’s hard to get all of it out, particularly stuff that’s gone down to the root. But that’s a side story.

Renee (09:00)
So in the case of horses and abscesses, please do not give butin antibiotics. It’s absolutely counterproductive. You want that abscess to come to a head, which is going to be painful, and then when it’s ready, then you can. Well, often the horse will just keep walking and it’ll just bust out on its own. Sometimes you might have to have a vet or ferrier help with that, although, honestly, I don’t recommend it because generally they tend to dig a really giant hole to get to it, which they feel they have to.

Renee (09:36)
But if you could avoid that, be better because all that has to grow out, and then it’s such a pain to keep it all wrapped up while it’s open there. Let me tell you about this thing I did one time, okay? Shh. Don’t tell people. It was an experiment, okay?

Renee (09:53)
There was a horse. He had an abscess bad, the kind where they’re just barely touching their toe and limping, like their whole leg is broken because they don’t want to put any weight on their foot. Hey, since having that tooth abscess, I know what they’re feeling. It’s awful. But the point is he’s eating, he’s drinking, he’s okay.

Renee (10:11)
He’s just not putting any weight on that foot. He was one of those guys you could not soak him. He was just impossible to deal with. Frankly, looking back, I bet you he had ulcers because he was so horrible to deal with. Long story short, here’s what I did.

Renee (10:29)
Well, we couldn’t do anything else, and it was dragging on. So what I did was I blocked the foot because you could see that it was a little not a little. It was fairly swollen on the back of the Coronary band. There. Most abscesses in the foot come out the bottom.

Renee (10:47)
Some come out the Coronary band. His was coming out the Coronary band. You could see it was like squishy. If you could just get to it, it was going to pop right out, but you couldn’t. But I managed to block the foot, all right?

Renee (11:01)
So if you’re not familiar with that, that’s where the veterinarians will stick lidocaine, which is like Novocaine at the dentist, into the area by the nerves to the foot. So I blocked both sides of the foot so he couldn’t feel his foot, like I said. And it’s an experiment, okay? And so you could see him, he put his foot down like a few times, barely touching it, thinking you could see him thinking, wait a minute, my foot doesn’t hurt. So he started walking on it.

Renee (11:30)
He walked, I swear, less than five steps, and that abscess bursted out, gushed out like 10ft. Oh, my gosh. It was so disgusting and so awesome because my plan worked. And yes, that’s the only thing we had to do. Hey, listen, I don’t recommend this, all right?

Renee (11:51)
But it is an option if your horse is absolutely intractable and you can see or somehow know the abscess is ready to burst out because, like, me pushing on my own abscess and it just busted open. He was literally pushing on his own abscess and it busted right open. But he wasn’t going to do it because it hurt too much. I helped him see, okay? That’s not in vet school.

Renee (12:17)
That was just my own little idea. I I have only did it that one time. The rest of the time, we just soak that’s it. We just soak them. All right, my point is, do your very, very best to avoid antibiotics.

Renee (12:34)
They’re killing the good stuff as well as the bad. Plus they harm the liver and the kidney as they’re trying to filter them. Okay? They’re bad. We kind of all kind of know this, but I swear our society is just like, well, you got an abscess.

Renee (12:51)
You took antibiotics. That fixes it. It’s not fixing it. It’s really not. The body has to figure out another way, or they’ll just wall off the infection because they can’t get rid of the stuff.

Renee (13:08)
Parts of their system over there, they can wall it off. They’ll come back later. They’ll have to do something. But antibiotics aren’t fixing it. It’s just like stalling.

Renee (13:20)
And other things will happen if you don’t let the body clean it out. Okay? It might hurt. You’ll be okay. The horse will be okay as long as monitor guys use some common sense.

Renee (13:37)
And I realize, as always in my podcast, there’s extremes. There’s things outside the norm. Avoid antibiotics. If you can do your best to avoid them, you can use natural antibiotics. If you Google literally natural antibiotics, there’s many products now that you can get.

Renee (13:58)
They contain things such as oil of oregano, apple cider vinegar, honey, turmeric, garlic, echinacea, cloves, cinnamon, golden seal, the list goes on of herbal items that can help, and they will support the immune system. And that’s what you want, is to support the immune system, who is doing the best job possible.

Renee (14:24)
Okay, I think that’s it. I hope you hadn’t been too disgusted with my awesome stories. And you certainly hope I certainly hope that you were not listening to this while you’re eating. All right, I should have said that the beginning. Sorry about that.

Renee (14:38)
I’ll try next time. All right? Thanks for listening, and I’ll talk to you guys later. Bye.

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3 Comments on “Podcast Episode 37: Antibiotics and Hoof abscesses”

  1. It is SO refreshing and important to hear the counter narrative from an accomplished vet. Thank you so much for shining a light, Dr. Tucker!

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