Are you looking for a homemade thrush treatment for horses? You’re not the only one!
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 I’ve had great results in treating and preventing thrush in horses, often using homemade remedies like the one below.
What is Thrush in Horses?
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 does thrush look like on horses hooves?
This video is a helpful resource for identifying thrush with your own horse:
How to Treat Thrush in Horses
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, the treatment (homemade or store-bought) can be applied.
Getting the solution deep into the frog can be difficult, but using a dish brush, syringe or even a small denture brush can make the job easier.
How long does it take to treat thrush?
For most healthy horses, 7-14 days is typical.
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 can be used to treat thrush in horses?
My favorite recipe is a dry powder, which includes 3 key ingredients:
- Bentonite Clay – This aged volcanic ash is a common ingredient in many detox and cleansing products. In a study from Arizona State University, bentonite clay was found to be highly effective at killing several types of bacteria.
- Diatomiceous Earth (Food Grade) – This powder made from the sediment of fossilized algae is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, selenium, and zinc. It works well to draw moisture from the infection and slough off dead skin cells.
- Copper Sulfate Powder – a naturally-occurring inorganic salt and commonly used fungicide. It is moderately toxic and should be handled and treated as a strong irritant. Safety first!
What’s your favorite homemade thrush treatment for horses?
My horse was at a rehab facility that used to use Kopertox. They kept it in a spray bottle and just sprayed the bottom of the horses feet after they cleaned them.