Typically it’s the day when the physio comes that Abbey has a hot hoof.

Must admit it wasn’t me that spotted it. The yard brought Abbey in and picked out her feet this morning. I’d been running a little late so just flicked a brush over her before the physio arrived.

To cut a long story short the physio recoiled when she touched her near fore. She was right, it was hot to the touch.

First thought was laminitis. Abbey’s primed for it…despite my best efforts she is overweight and her grazing isn’t ideal. I’ve been walking the tightrope between ensuring she’s enough forage to prevent excess stomach acid causing ulcers and keeping her weight down. I’m exercising her as much as I can. Her field doesn’t contain much grass but it’s short and therefore stressed meaning it’ll produce more sugar. As we’re now in a cold snap, the grass will be producing even more sugar as an antifreeze. Altogether…it is a recipe for laminitis.

With the physio ready to treat me and my OH, I left Abbey in with a small double netted haynet.

Afterwards I got on the internet, messaged my equine podiatrist and sought advice from experienced friends. It made me think again. The heat was only in one hoof and the sole felt hotter than the wall…..abscess seems more likely.

Last year I encouraged my OH to purchase a thermal imaging camera. He wanted to find out where the draughts were coming from within our old (cold) house. FYI, the answer is everywhere…every door, every window and most of the walls have gaps.

Today it came in useful for something else…..

Interestingly, it’s enabled me to pinpoint a hotspot on her poorly hoof which is around 4C hotter than the rest of her hot sole.

While this isn’t conclusive proof that Abbey’s got a abscess brewing, it does support our feelings that a) one hoof is significantly warmer than the other and b) the sole is hotter than the hoof wall.

It’ll be interesting to see whether my hypothesis is correct and whether the source of the abscess is near that hot spot.

NB I will be keeping a very close eye on her, liaising closely with my equine podiatrist and calling in vet if necessary.