This is a common problem for horses and one that can be easily diagnosed and treated once horse owners become educated in what a healthy hoof looks like.
It has been a common belief that thrush is the result of poor hygiene management. For example, blame is usually cited as being the result of “poorly kept stalls and bedding”. Although this is true, this is not the only reason why thrush can thrive in your horse’s feet.
In addition, the “notion” that thrush can be easily detected due to an offensive odor is also misleading since horses can still have thrush without the presence of an offensive smell.
Here is an example of a hoof in rehab where the sulcus cracks were so deep that we started helping the frog by first placing small pieces of cloth with a good anti-bacterial ointment (in this case hibitane) into the sulcus crack. This was changed daily.
When we talk about “proper hygiene” lets discuss the fact that horse owners have a bit more responsibility than simply cleaning hooves with a hoof pic. What I am referring to is that when you pick up your horse’s feet you need to be looking for any possible place that thrush can invade – or has invaded! I say this because once upon a time, I assumed that “if there” was a problem with my horses feet my farrier/trimmer would tell me. Well, this isn’t true and therefore the only person responsible for ensuring the over health of your horse’s hooves (as well as everything else) is YOU:
Here are some things to consider when you clean your horse’s hooves:
- Does the frog have any flaps that need to be trimmed off? These flaps are nesting grounds for bacteria.
- Is the frog covering the collateral groove area of the hoof? The collateral grooves should be open and free so that your horse can “self clean” their hooves through natural movement. This isn’t always the case as horses’ hooves need to be transitioned into the barefoot model yet it is good practise to keep frogs healthy for many reasons.
- Does your horse have deep sulcus cracks? If so, these areas need to be treated. Many horses will resist heel landing if they have pain in the back of their hooves and this pain can the result of deep sulcus cracks. Think of it like your own feet. Do you like walking around barefoot when you have cracks in your heels? What does that do for you? Yes! You walk on the ball (front) of your foot….same for the horse! Effectively you are the cause he now toe strikes and if you keep it up, you’ll be the cause of your horse being diagnosed with Navicular Disease.
Each horse and each hoof is different and therefore it is difficult to give a “blanket” explanation as to “why” certain problems are happening.
I say this since we at HorseHoofHealth are firm believers in the total overall health of the horse.
“We want to help you identify and heal the symptoms, but more importantly we want you to determine the overall cause”
Don’t underestimate the power in proper diet and mineral balancing. I can personally attest that once my horses received proper mineral supplementation in accordance to the hay being fed, problems such as thrush (together with proper foot care) simply disappeared.
One of the best products we have used in treating thrush is a dry formula called “NO THRUSH”. We feel a bottle of this is a “must have” in your tackroom.
Below is the same hoof being treated with “No Thrush”. Note that this dry treatment is still effective even in the cold and wet of winter.
Another picture of frog after daily treatments of No Thrush
For additional information please refer to the following link:
If you can’t buy No Thrush where you live, here’s a recipe for a mix (Pete’s Goo) to cure thrush where the ingredients can be purchased at your local pharmacy:
- One part Triple Antibiotic with pain relief (make sure it’s the one with pain relief)
- One part Anti-fungal Athelete’s foot cream with 1% Clotrimasol
- One part Neosporin with pain relief (make sure it;s the one with pain relief)
Mix all three equal parts and back load a monojet syringe (available on Amazon) that you’ve cut the tip shorter (but still thin so you can get into small places) to allow the flow of the mix. Push the tip of the syringe as deep as you can into the central sulcus crack and squeeze the mix into it until it comes out the top of the crack.