Identifying Thrush

Identifying Thrush
You may be asking yourself what is thrush? Thrush is a bacterial infection of the frog that is located in the horses hoof. You will definitely be able to recognize thrush by the foul smell and the gray-black discharge. If left untreated it can cause the heels to split and bleed and cause lameness.

Thrush is caused when manure or mud gets packed in the hoof and is not cleaned out on a regular basis. I've also seen it when horses had their shoes removed. Moist, dark and dirty environments are excellent breeding grounds for bacteria. Thrush is very painful for the horse and should not be left untreated.

Thrush can also be caused by improper diet, poor hoof care, insufficient exercise and unusual hoof growth, but for the most part it is caused from standing in wet or dirty conditions.

Horses that are confined to stalls or are in an area that has standing water or mud for several days are susceptible to thrush. It is best to keep your horse in a clean and dry area. If kept in a stall use stall mats under the bedding to help keep the stall drier.

Thrush is simple to deal with if recognized and treated early. If thrush is in the advanced stage you will need to seek the services of a veterinarian and farrier. Thrush can be found in both the front and back hooves.

To properly treat thrush you must first start by cleaning out the hooves daily and then apply a thrush treatment. There are several commercial products on the market for thrush that will kill the bacteria. Some of the products contain toxic chemicals so read the labels. You can also find natural treatments that are just as effective as the products with toxic chemicals.

Winter is the time of year when you will see more thrush because of all the moisture. Prepare ahead and make sure there is a clean dry area that your horse can get to. If you suspect your horse has thrush call your farrier as they can help you determine the severity.

Make sure you stay on top of cleaning out the hooves because thrush does not take long to go from something simple to severe. There is a quote that says: “No Hoof No Horse."

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