What is Horse Hoof Thrush?
Horse hoof thrush is a fungal infection that is found on the bottom of the hoof. 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
What Causes Horse Hoof Thrush?
This condition is caused by bacteria and it develops in moist, warm, dark, airless areas of the hoof. When the hoof is constantly exposed to manure and debris, it becomes a breeding ground for thrush.
It may also occur as a result of improper hoof care which involves shoeing and trimming regularly, poor nutrition, regular exercise and unsanitary living conditions. This can result in mild discomfort for your horse but if attended to immediately resolves almost immediately. If left untreated for long periods, horse hoof thrush can lead to lameness and cause severe damage.
Diagnosing Horse Hoof Thrush
If the symptoms of thrush do not resolve with home remedies, causes hoof problems or lameness; your horse may need to see a vet. The diagnosis of hoof thrush is based on the symptoms presented, thorough physical examination and review of the horse’s medical history.
Help for Horse Hoof Thrush
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 six weeks and exercising him regularly can also help to prevent episodes of thrush.
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. 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.
More Information on Horse Hoof Thrush
Tips to avoid hoof thrush
There are several ways to prevent horse hoof thrush and these include:
- Feed your horse an all natural diet without preservatives, additives and colorants
- Exercise your horse regularly to ensure overall fitness and health, and also to prevent dry hoofs
- Visit a good farrier – this is very important as he will be able to recommend the proper shoes and inspect your horse’s hooves depending on where he was stabled and he is ridden
- Trim or shoe your horse’s hooves every six weeks using a skilled farrier
- Pick the hooves out daily using a hoof pick
- When inspecting your horse’s hooves, place your back to the horse’s hooves so that you can get the best possible view of the hoof
- Keep all areas where your horse stands dry and clean. Avoid wet footing as it can cause thrush and soft hooves
- Make sure the horse’s feet are fitted properly with shoes and pads
- Incorporate a biotin supplement to your horse’s diet to promote the growth and development of healthy hooves