Horse Hoof Thrush
Just What Is It?
Horse hoof thrush is a bacterial/ fungal infection that is found on the bottom of the hoof. Numerous anaerobic bacterium and fungi that thrive in low oxygen are generally responsible
It typically affects the tissues around the hoof, particularly the frog, sole and cleft area.
Common symptoms and signs include:
- Foul, distinct odor from the hoof
- Black, moist pus-like substance from the frog area
- Tissue around the frog and heels starts to wear away
- Discomfort and lameness is felt when thumb pressure is applied to the frog area
Help for Horse Hoof Thrush
Hoof hygiene is one of the most important and easiest things you can do to prevent thrush. Thrush loves environments that are warm, dark, moist, and low in oxygen. We want the hoof to be warm with great blood circulation, so we can’t do much about that. We can do something about the dark, low oxygen crevices with routine hoof trimming and daily hoof picking. Get to know those hooves intimately so thrush problems can be caught early. This daily picking routine, combined with dry footing for our horses to stand in, must be part of every thrush control plan. With winter upon us and muddy spring conditions ahead, this is a perfect time to get proactive in establishing a healthy external terrain.
Thrush that is detected early can be cleared up quite quickly. It is essential that the horse’s environment is clean and dry as too much moisture helps thrush to thrive. Make sure that you pick dirt and debris out of hooves and crevices before applying a topical solution or any thrush treatment. Use a stiff brush to scrub the frog and heel thoroughly.
Apply a mild antibacterial lotion or spray apple cider vinegar on the bottom of the hoof until symptoms subside. Although treatments such as hydrogen peroxide, copper napthennate or chlorine bleach may be effective, these chemicals are very harsh and can stain or burn the skin. In addition, feeding your horse a healthy, well balanced diet,trimming his hooves every five to six weeks and exercising him regularly can also help to prevent episodes of thrush.
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Herbs, essential oils and homeopathic remedies are a gentle, safe yet effective natural alternative designed to promote the health and functioning of your horse’s hooves.
A combination of well known ingredients such as Linseed oil (Flaxseed oil), Wintergreen Oil, White willow, Horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) and Comfrey have therapeutic abilities that soothe and calm the hoof while also maintaining overall skin health. Tea Tree Oil, Rosemary, Marigold (Calendula officinalis L.), Lavender, St. John’s Wort and Arnica contain antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties thereby speeding healing and recovery of thrush in horses.
For more info here’s a link to a great article published in Natural Horse Magazine.