I chalked the funky feeling up to the abscess coming on and then he proceeded to have a couple more at fairly regular intervals. I justified those with the thought that it was because the previous one hadn't grown out and that provided an opening for another one to start brewing. I finally got everything grown out and thought it was all good.
Then he acted like he had another one, but I never saw it open up and the soundness resolved. I started getting worried, but decided as long as he was sound I shouldn't freak out. A couple of weeks ago the same thing happened. There was zero reason for him to have an abscess and even less of a reason for it to happen in the exact same place.
My farrier thought that he had deep thrush in the central sulcus. I didn't understand how that would result in thick whitish pus repeatedly (the farrier never saw the pus). Regardless, we both agreed that I should get the vet out. I was super happy with the vet. I sent her a short text asking for an appointment, she called me back quickly. Then immediately called the farrier and we had a time set up for everyone to be there.
After the initial poking and prodding without many ideas, we snapped a couple X-rays to see if any space or foreign bodies showed up. Thankfully, nothing showed up. The next step was to start opening up the frog and seeing what was there. The end result was at some point he had severe central sulcus thrush and it eroded the connection between the frog and the digital cushion. When it healed the tissues were unable to reform that connection.
This left a gap between the frog and the digital cushion and that space continued to abscess. The best way to rebuild this connection was to remove the frog until it was connected to the digital cushion and then allow it to grow back naturally. Poor Stinker had the majority of his frog cut out (which he was a total trooper for and was really good for the farrier). It was then packed and we went with a leather pad for protection.
It is going to take quite some time for his frog to grow back and he is quite sore. But he is fine at the walk and can have his normal life. So right now he is getting a bit of a break and I am only doing groundwork to keep him from being too bored. Sadly he isn't going to be able to go on the trails for quite awhile (until it is totally healed because there are so many rocks) and hopefully in another week or so he will be ok to ride (vet said its fine to ride now, but I want to wait until he is fine trotting at liberty).
The good news is since we took x-rays of his one foot I asked the vet if she saw anything of concern. I have always been concerned about his right hind (foot in question) and I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. She said that she did not see anything concerning and there was the possibility of maybe kind of sort of something in the fetlock, but without more views she couldn't say anything for sure. She followed that up with "I really wouldn't worry about it. He looks better than he did in the spring, and he looks way better than a horse with his conformation should. The best thing for him is to keep doing what you have been doing."
So we will keep on keeping on and hopefully be right back at once he heals. I am hopeful that this will clear up the lingering funky feeling I got in the hind end.