When I asked the members of the Facebook Group, Horse Care on a Budget, what they dislike most about horse care the answer was unequivocally MUD! Not only does it make daily barn chores and riding a challenge, but it can also cause a difficult-to-treat degenerative infection know as thrush. Luckily these experienced members put some remedies to the test, and had great results in treating and preventing thrush in horses.
What is Thrush?
When a horse is continually standing on wet soil or bedding, keratonolytic bacteria begin to eat away the soft tissue of the frog. The first sign is a foul smelling, black discharge and soft spots in the hoof. There is usually no initial lameness, but if left untreated it can spread to deeper structures of the hoof. Conformation problems, incorrect trimming, and poor stable management can increase the risk of thrush, but it can also occur simply because of a wet climate.
What products can be used to treat Thrush?
These are the top tried-and-tested recommendations:
Store Bought Options
- Cloves and iodine
- 1 part bleach to 4 parts water
- Athlete’s Foot cream and Triple Antibiotic Ointment
- Daktarin spray and Dettol Glen 20
- Tea Tree Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar (for more ACV uses see this post)
How to Treat Thrush
At the first signs of thrush, the horse should be moved to a clean, dry environment whenever possible. If mud is an issue, limited turnout time might be required. Thrush can be stubborn, so daily care and frequently cleaning is a must! After thoroughly cleaning the frog area, any of the above treatments can be applied. Getting the solution deep into the frog can be difficult, but they recommend using a dish brush, syringe or even a small denture brush. If you’re not seeing results within a week, or the thrush appears to be spreading, you should contact your vet or farrier. There could be another underlying issue, and in severe cases of thrush, a horse may require antibiotics.
What have you used to treat thrush in horses?
Thank you to Horse Care on a Budget members Angelia, Stephanie, Sherry, Courtney, Jaye P Judd, Barbara, Libby, Deb, James and MaryAnn for all your great suggestions! If you’d like to join the discussion, head over to Facebook!
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