Can I use Betadine for detachable stitches?

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The hoof abscess is one of the most common diseases treated in equine practice. The variety of symptoms that a hoof abscess can trigger is interesting, so the diagnosis can sometimes be confusing. The hoof abscess occurs in both unshod (foals are often affected) and shod horses, and there is no specific age or race predisposition.

The penetration of bacteria into the horny capsule leads to an infection of the hoof dermis and an accumulation of pus within the horny shoe. Since the horn shoe forms a firm connection to the outside, a high pressure develops on the hoof dermis, which causes severe pain for the horse.

root cause

Possible causes of the infection are:

a. Nail pressure: the hoof nail was set a little too '' close to the living '' when shod and caused inflammation and infection in the immediate vicinity of the dermis.

b. Nail stitch: the farrier stabbed the dermis with a hoof nail and set an infection.

c. trampled stones: sharp pebbles can penetrate the horn and cause a hoof abscess in an unshod horse.


The main symptom of the hoof abscess is definitely the severe lameness, which repeatedly leads the horse owners to think that their horse has broken its leg. Horses with a hoof abscess often first come to the clinic as a fracture patient. The horses can also have a fever. The hoof is usually more warm and a strong pulsation of the toe arteries can be felt. Often the entire lower limb is swollen, which in turn can lead to misdiagnoses such as tendinitis or bullet holes. A strong pain reaction can usually be triggered by applying pressure with the hoof forceps.

Using diagnostic anesthesia (TPA, MPA), the lameness can be reliably localized and subsequent treatment can be carried out painlessly.

Sometimes a radiological examination allows to confirm the suspected diagnosis of a hoof abscess.


The iron must be removed if a hoof abscess is suspected and each nail must be checked to see whether it is damp or smells of pus. You should then try to locate the source of inflammation with the hoof examination pliers. This can be extremely difficult, especially with very hard horn, so it may be necessary to first apply a Betadine or Creoline hoof bandage. This softens the horn, which on the one hand facilitates the localization of the abscess and makes it easier to excise.

If an abscess is found, all rotten, detached horn must be cut away. Then the infected area is treated with iodine solution and a hoof bandage with a betadine swab is applied to the changed area. This hoof bandage should be changed after approx. 2-3 days. This checks whether more horn has to be cut away. As soon as the open area is no longer damp, the horse can be shod again, but a leather sole must be attached under the iron to protect the dermis. For barefooted hoofs, a hoof bandage or a suitable hoof shoe is usually necessary as protection a little longer until sufficient healthy horn has grown back. If the hoof abscess is not treated properly, the pus at the coronary hem can break out or eat into the depths and attack the coffin bone.


The prognosis is usually good, although treatment for extensive hoof abscesses can take several weeks.

After successful treatment of the hoof abscess by the veterinarian, hoof bandages are necessary for about 2 weeks to protect the damaged hoof from moisture, dirt and bacteria. The bandages required for this can be found in our Proequishop.