Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well, all three of my horses have some thrush in all four hooves. The creases of their frogs are black and the frog tissue itself in the creases is peely and in the worse hooves, it's even chunky looking. Darn. I thought I saw thrush when I trimmed them, but I was hoping that opening the creases up might help it go away, but I think the ground is just too wet for that hope. So, today I got stocked up on some products I think might help fight it. My plan is to alternate days scrubbing with 2 different disinfectants. I'll try a dilute bleach solution (I've heard some people actually pour full strength bleach onto the hoof and let it dry to treat thrush, but I think that is too strong and would damage tissue), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). I've never used hydrogen peroxide on thrush, but it seems like it might work...unless the bacteria and fungi have peroxidase or catalase (enzymes that break down the free-radical hydrogen peroxide to prevent tissue damage - that's why it bubbles when you put hydrogen peroxide on your cuts). H2O2 breaks down into water and oxygen. So I was thinking that the introduction of oxygen into the crevices of the frog might actually help kill the bacteria/fungi...isn't thrush an anaerobic thing? Well, it's worth a try.

In the past, I've also used iodine (seemed to work and is not as harsh as bleach). I'd use iodine again, but I'm out of 7% and didn't feel like going to the farm store to get more. I've also used a 50/50 mixture of antifungal cream and triple antibiotic ointment, and I think it probably works but it also seems to be slower than the disinfectant products. I don't know. All I know is that thrush is such a pain! I had to battle it last year too, and I think I still found some evidence of it in some horses even in late summer! And now I have 12 hooves to treat each day! Ick!

I'm curious what other's have used for the treatment of thrush. It also seems like getting their enclosures dried out would help too, but I'm just not sure how it's possible to really keep them dry in late winter/early spring, unless you stall them all the time, and I don't do that. Most of their pasture IS dry, except for right down in front of the barn where they come to drink...that's wet now because it was the last to melt (since the horses had hard packed the snow there). I'd better get on this though...In past experience, if you don't, it gets deep inside the frog and causes other problems (caused Cody to be short-strided).


Linda said...

Oh my, that's not good. I wish you had some dry ground like we do around here. It's hard to keep stalls totally dry when it's wet outside. I wish I could give you some advice--but I have no experience with thrush.

Andrea said...

We have a lot of thrush problems here. My favorite thing so far has been the stuff with gentian violet in it. Thrush Buster, and there are a couple others but I don't remember the names.

I hate Koppertox. Very messy. I tried the antifungal/antibiotic mix too but it was expensive. Even Pete Ramey wasn't sure whether it was the mix that worked or just the fact that people were picking out the hoof real well every day before they put the stuff on there. I've also tried the Lysol mix he used to recommend but I don't remember whether I got results with that. I don't think I did but maybe I didn't stick with it long enough.

In really bad cases you might try White Lightning or Cleantrax. It's a more complicated treatment, but supposed to be the best there is. I have some of both here and I've never used it, it's just so much work! You can find them at www.centaurforge.com.

Kara said...

Linda, that's great that you've never had thrush problems, and I think that's rare...most people I've talked to either have dealt with it or didn't know enough to know what it was...they probably had it, but didn't know it.

Andrea, I have heard lots about cleantrax and white lightening, but if it's complicated, I'm not even going to bother with it...I barely can commit to a week long daily treatment of 12 hooves with just dousing them with bleach or hydrogen peroxide!

And regarding the raised panels...we bolted them on at two points on each side - first by drilling a hole in through the metal pipe, then screwing that to the post, with washers between the bolt head and the pipe (so they are less likely to pull through the pipe if a horse crashes into them. If you can see in the pictures, some panels were not bolted to posts, and this was so that those panels could act as gates, so that we could disconnect them on one end and swing them out - hopefully we'll get to that point, where we are leading them outside of the enclosure! The panels not bolted to posts are still held up at the 6ft level by their attachements to the other panels. Yeah, it's pretty sturdy...we also considered wiring the panels to the posts instead of bolting them, but it seemed like there was more "stuff" then that a horse could potentially get caught up in. This seems simpler and safer. I'll take a closer up picture of the actual attachments later...

Kara said...

And I'm determined to bring both horses home! I guess the only way we wouldn't is if my Dad's shoulder really prevented us from finishing the second enclosure, but I can do all of the heavy work myself with minimal help from him, so we should be able to get it done just fine.

Tracey said...

Crazy that those of you in drier climates are battling it, but so far (knock on wood) I've not had it here. In the past I've used koppertox, but I think peroxide or tea tree oil would work.

arlene said...

I've never had thrush here. We used to see it in England. I've always kept Foxsun out in more natural conditions, (dry, rocks, sagebrush). I've been very concerned about the mustangs feet because I've never kept horses penned up all winter before. I think they did fine though (touch wood). When Echo plays and kicks out compact stuff with a frog imprint in it, I always examine it and smell it. So far so good and things have dried out now.
I recall I used to pick out thrushy feet often to try to keep them clean and dry as possible. There was some product I used but I can't remember what it was.
Good luck.