Noble Life

Part 2: Thrush, How to Treat & Prevent

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The winter-wet weather is when the majority of horses have issues developing thrush. As you learned last week, thrush is the thick black smelly discharge that is commonly found in the sulcus of the frog and in the collateral grooves alongside the frog. There can be several organisms associated with thrush but the most common is Fusobacterium necrophorum. The truth is, thrush can occur year round when the bottom of the hoof is exposed to moist conditions including mud, irrigated pasture, wet bedding or trapped moisture in the frog from wearing shoes with pads. Gaited breed horses like Saddlebreds and Tennessee Walkers are thought to be more prone than others horse breeds because of their naturally deeper frog sulci and long feet.

Thrush is the thick black smelly discharge that is commonly found in the sulcus of the frog and in the collateral grooves alongside the frog.

Thrush is the thick black smelly discharge that is commonly found in the sulcus of the frog and in the collateral grooves alongside the frog.

Can thrush cause lameness? Most cases are superficial and do not cause lameness. Severe cases can affect deeper structures in the hoof causing positive reactions to hoof testers and variable degrees of lameness.

Prevention includes good management practices like making sure water troughs do not over flow causing large puddles, routine hoof care like regular trimming/shoeing and daily hoof picking. Having raised areas available with rubber mats where horses can get out of the muddy conditions also helps reduce exposure to moisture.

Treatment includes picking feet regularly and daily to weekly use of topical hoof solutions like Kopertox, Thrush Buster, dilute bleach, formalin, etc.

Kopertox is one of many good products on the market to prevent and treat thrush.

Kopertox is one of many good products on the market to prevent and treat thrush.

Routine hoof picking (using your Noble Outfitters Hoof Picks, of course) and good management practices should help get your horse through wet winter conditions.

Routine picking of hooves is an important management practice to prevent thrush.

Routine picking of hooves is an important management practice to prevent thrush.

 

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Amy Wright was born and raised in the Central Valley of California. She grew up raising and showing a variety of animals from 4-H to National levels. While completing her Bachelor’s degree she was a member of the California State University, Fresno NCAA Equestrian team. Cutting and Sorting are her current passions although she has shown a variety of disciplines from Hunter/Jumper, Western Pleasure, Reining and Barrel Racing. She is a recent graduate from St. Matthew’s University in Grand Cayman and completed her clinical year at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Ok. She was the St. Matthew’s American Association of Equine Practitioners Student Chapter President and has received awards such as a 2012 Winner’s Circle Equine Scholarship Recipient and 2013 Abaxis Award for Excellence in Equine Medicine.

Comments (2)

    • Hi there!

      This is a great question! This is called interference and it can be corrected with gymnastic work. This would be the same if the horse hits himself during a gait (walk, trot or canter) with his own hooves.

      Thanks!

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