Thrush

Ugh, THRUSH

IF YOU GOOGLE THRUSH, you’ll find that most people say it’s a bacterial infection of the frog. Some will say it can also be fungal. A few might say it’s mainly fungal. So it’s hard to sort out the truth of what causes thrush and what cures it. But whatever bug it is that causes thrush, we can all agree that thrush is an infection of the frog, usually the central sulcus, collateral grooves (also sometimes called the collateral sulci), and the frog itself.

For really deep cracks of the central sulcus, sometimes going all the way up the heel bulbs to the hair line, I like to use a syringe to get the treatment material all the way to the bottom of the crack. You can also use your hoof pick to wedge the stuff way down in there, but the syringe is more effective. Problem is, with a syringe, you can’t use the mud based products (although Pure Sole Hoof Mud is soft enough is kept warm and the syringe tip isn’t too narrow). 

Myth Buster

THRUSH ONLY HAPPENS IN WET, MUDDY CONDITIONS.

Think again! While it is more common in wet, muddy conditions, thrush can and does happen in any environment. It requires anaerobic conditions (lacking oxygen) to thrive, whether it be wet or dry. That’s why it’s so important to keep the hooves clean.

My preferred prevention of and treatment for thrush are the clay based products like Pure Sole Hoof Mud and Artimud Hoof Clay which use antimicrobial ingredients that work on both bacteria and fungus. 

Whatever product you use to treat thrush, be sure that it isn’t caustic and won’t harm living tissue.

In any case, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. These are some things that you can do to prevent serious thrush:

  • keep the footing clean and as dry as possible
  • pick out feet regularly
  • allow/provide plenty of movement to encourage hoof stimulation
  • balance minerals (copper and zinc are critical minerals that are often deficient),
  • provide an appropriate diet of high quality forage
  • keep a regular trim cycle and trims that allow for frog pressure and release
  • treat with thrush products once a week or so (more often in wet conditions when it’s harder to keep the hoof clean)

Lastly, don’t panic if your horse has thrush: at some point thrush is just a matter of fact for horses, no matter what the environment. But be aware that if it gets out of control it becomes a big problem. If left unchecked, thrush can eat its way up through the frog into the sensitive tissues of the foot, and, not only is that painful for your horse, it can lead to all sorts of more serious problems.

PLEASE HAVE A LOOK at the following articles and video for a more in-depth look at what thrush is and how to PREVENT and TREAT it.

ARTICLES

The Lowdown on Thrush
Danvers Child, CJF

Debunking Hoof Remedies for Equine Thrush
Life Data Labs

What Is Thrush?
healthyhoof.com

Thrush Diagnosis and Treatment
thehorse.com

Preventing and Treating Thrush in Horses

Taylor Fabus, Michigan State University Extention

Thrush in Horses
Deidre M. Carson, BVSc, MRCVS & Sidney W. Ricketts, LVO, BSc, BVSc, DESM, DipECEIM, FRCPath, FRCVS

Thrush: What Is It?
Dr. Lydia Gray, SmartPak Medical Director/Staff Veterinarian

Hoof Infections and Their Management
Sam Austin, for Red Horse Products

VIDEOS

Thrush: Signs and Remedies
Danvers Child, CJF

Equine Thrush (graphic content)
Lindsey Field, The Study of the Equine Hoof