Thrush in Horses: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Keep replacing the swab and clean away until the swab comes out clean. FROG CONFORMATION. However, it’s always a good idea to be as sanitary as possible when dealing with any infections, whether it’s found in yourself, a family member or your animals. For example, horses with contracted heels or some form of lameness--especially in the heel area--tend to get thrush more easily.

Many horses get thrush from standing in a dirty environment, like an unclean stall or a pasture full of mud and muck. But, even if you take all the precautions possible, your horse will still likely get thrush at some point. Common signs include:

  • No matter how severe the thrush, the horse first needs to be moved to a clean, dry environment.
  • Thrush becomes a problem when blood supply, movement, hygiene, environment, diet or hoof care aren't what the horse requires, and the resulting bacterial imbalance creates an opportunity for thrush to take root.
  • Moisture is often mentioned as a contributing factor in developing thrush.
  • The frog turns black, with flaps of flesh caused by its decomposition.
  • ” A main objective is recognition; once the problem is identified, steps can be taken to eradicate the infection and to prevent recurrence.
  • Initially, it might be difficult to identify the presence of thrush, since in the early stages the horse is not lame and might show no other clinical signs.
  • A new approach is called for; soaking those feet in the appropriate microbe-killer long enough for the medication to soak in and do its job.

Thrush - curing your horse of this smelly fungal infection doesn't take long when you use this simple treatment technique and make a few management changes. Once the frog is level with the rest of the foot again, its restored function will promote new, healthy growth. These harsh chemical treatments will also kill good, healthy tissue as well as the thrush.

Researchers have found that it’s more often the horse not “self-cleaning” the hoof by walking. Thrush is found mainly in the frog’s central sulcus and collateral grooves. Take more care with acidic footing.

Tips to Protect Your Horse’s Skin In All Kinds of Weather

This is where horse owners are often misguided into using a short term fix that in the long term will encourage re-infection. The hoof and frog become soft and crumbly allowing the bacteria and fungi to penetrate and establish themselves leading to infection. All of these ingredients have powerful yet gentle antimicrobial properties. SteriHoof Hoof Treatment Spray - no sting relief from thrush and white line disease! Thrush is only lameness causing in severe cases but the fungus breaks down sole tissue causing thinning of the soles and more prone to bruised soles, abscessing and other hoof infections.

  • Daily hoof picking is recommended, but it should be used delicately.
  • Most wild horses do not have their hooves picked every day and the healthy footed ones do not suffer from thrush problems.
  • It is not to be repurposed or used on any other website aside from usequestrian.
  • If this topical treatment doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal pill.
  • Trimming away dead tissue will help provide less of an environment for microbes.

More from Hoof Care:

Two very useful sprays are colloidal silver (silver ions destroy key enzyme systems in the cell membranes of these pathogens), and Usnea (a symbiosis [one organism living on another] of a fungus and an alga, used for its antibiotic and antifungal properties). There are several on the market, but the most effective may be CleanTrax, available on-line – it will kill aerobes, anaerobes, and spores. The best way to cure thrush and prevent it from recurring is to solve your horse’s original hoof-capsule abnormality. You start to pick out your horse’s hoof and get a nasty whiff of what can only be described as rot.

  • Such feet are a happy breeding ground for the bacteria.
  • Generally mild Thrush is an infection that is easy to treat.
  • If your horse’s feet are sensitive when you pick them out, Fraley recommends calling your vet.
  • The average horse used for dressage weighs between 1,000 and 1,250 pounds.
  • “That foot isn’t functioning normally, and maybe the horse is guarding its foot and the heels are contracting secondary to pain,” Fraley explained.

Simple Ways To Prevent Winter Colic

Although many hoof infections do not directly affect soundness they can adversely influence the structure and stability of the horses hoof leading to lameness or sub-clinical problems (poor performance). There are also some hoof sealers that help repel all the moisture, acid, manure and urine. It is best, however, to speak with the horse's veterinarian, to be sure these home remedies are effective and, more importantly, safe for use on horses. This leaves a pocket of thrush to live on deep inside.

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After the hoof has dried, apply your topical treatment. This helps the hoof to self-clean. To cure thrush, your farrier will need to trim your horse’s hooves in a way that promotes new, healthy frog growth. A simple saliva test for candida, often however, as in the case where women have been taking oral contraceptives for prolonged periods, this craving gradually increases over time and is far more subtle. If you spend time around a barn, you know that thrush in horses is very common. When these materials decompose in wet paddocks, they can change the pH of the soil and foster the growth of bacteria that cause thrush as well as abscesses.

It's far better to prevent thrush from taking hold in the first place, and that means minimizing the three conditions the infection needs to thrive:

The frog may look unhealthy, appearing ragged and with crevices and holes. What is thrush? Meantime, we do have means to control it and make our equine partners more comfortable while we’re at it. We recommend Sole Paint for stubborn foot odor and discoloration often associated with thrush that can be treated at least weekly. Good circulation to the foot helps keep it healthy. In all but the most serious of cases, you’re unlikely to notice much if any change in your horse’s behavior or gait. Clean the hoof before you treat for thrush! Unlike other products, “Thrush Off” is Natural and Non Toxic.

The hoof is living tissue that is damaged and wounded by thrush.

Once the black necrotic (dead) tissue has been removed and the frog, cleft and sulcus (the grooves on either side of the frog) of the hoof has been cleaned, you can apply “Thrush Off”. The formula also contains a drying agent which helps destroy the moist environment where microbes tend to hide. It’s impossible for the applicators on the market today to get in. There's no mistaking the distinctive foul odor of thrush in a horse's hoof. Others can frolic on dry ground and bedding, yet still end up with the telltale foul odour that makes it difficult for them to win friends and influence people (or horses, for that matter). Dear dr nina: can thrush really take over your whole system? With higher-than-average snowfalls, we are sure to have a wet spring with excess moisture, and horse owners will be struggling to manage an overabundance of mud. Make sure you pick out all the dark-grey or blackish clay-like thrush. The picture on the right shows the hoof after the dirt has been picked out.

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It appears as a foul-smelling, black, clay-like material in the area surrounding the frog. When trimming the frog, do so in a way that leaves clefts open for self-cleaning when the horse walks. In addition, be sure the horse’s hooves and stall are being cleaned daily with removal of wet spots and manure. How can I prevent it? Speak to your vet or farrier about any homoeopathic remedies that they might recommend. Consistency is the key.

I have found the easiest way to apply them is with a spray bottle or ketchup bottle from a kitchen supply store. What’s especially great about this product is that if you are showing and you’re worried about the treatment being visible on your horse’s hooves, this one isn’t. The frog is an essential component to ensure correct function of the hoof. Many years ago, Dr. So you can best advise your customers on which products to use.

Whereas horses standing in clean/ dry stalls are simply standing, and are not promoting the same kind of vascularity necessary to generate a healthy foot.

Over-use of products containing caustic agents are harmful to tender new tissue and hinder their growth. It is a good idea to wash the hoof for the first-time treatment. The non-damaging paste is packed into the sulci using small brush (an old toothbrush is great for getting into flaps and crevices). If the foot is out of balance or has contracted heels, or if lameness keeps the horse from using the foot normally, that raises the risk for thrush. The swab will become darker as you work, a sign it is picking up exudates and dead tissue. How can thrush be prevented? Horses in the western United States don’t tend to have nearly as many–or as severe–thrush infections as those living in damp parts of the United States. Horses that wear hoof pads are susceptible to thrush, since the pad holds moisture against the bottom of the foot.

TA Cream is effective in combating Athlete’s Foot – a fungus infection – and Clotrimazole is a powerful treatment, especially useful in combating thrush.


A very good option available from your Vet is a tube of antibiotic ointment typically used for mastitis in cows. It is very important that the horse is kept in a clean dry stable where immaculate hygiene is maintained during the treatment period. It is not unusual after cleaning such hooves to notice a topical black coating at the sole and frog. Horses who live in larger pastures probably won't require daily attention, but do check their hooves at least once a week to make sure no problems are developing. New research tells us that thrush is not discriminatory, it can affect horses that live in pristine “poop never hits the ground” stalls, while rarely infecting some horses that live in mud.

Caustic Chemicals can Create Fear of Treatment

Keep the horses hooves clean and dry whenever possible. Using something like a honey, zinc sulphate, zinc oxide, or eucalyptus oil based products. Contraction can result in the development of crevices that welcome proliferation of anaerobic bacteria. The same could occur if the animal has suffered an injury that has resulted in a deformity of the frog. However, this is no cause for complacency. REGULAR FARRIERY. Keep the stall bedding clean with fresh straw or shavings to prevent thrush from happening in the first place. This anaerobic organism penetrates the soft tissue of the frog and can eat all the way to the sensitive tissue and into the digital plantar cushion and eventually into the navicular and coffin bones.

Keep at this and you can get some really good healthy hoof growth, and you can dial it back and just do a maintenance routine.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which are no additional cost to you. The surviving deeper-seated microbes have a low oxygen environment to divide with subsequent re-eruption weeks later. Provide dry footing. Simple iodine can also be used to treat mild cases of thrush, but be aware that it can dry out the hoof. Contact us today to find out how Scoot Boots can make the difference to the health of your horses’ hooves. Clean out all dark-gray or blackish thrush.

Your horse has thrush. For prevention, use once or twice a week depending on climatic conditions. Some of the hardest feet we’ll trim as farriers are horses that are bedded on shavings or sawdust. Good stable management, and good hoof care from your farrier can prevent this unpleasant condition. It’s easy to treat if caught early, so clean your horses feet regularly and treat immediately if you or your trimmer notices thrush.

The second--and most important--aspect of treating thrush:

Trail Riding Safety Essentials

In our experience, one of the more important factors in avoiding and/or eliminating thrush is exercise. If you have thrush, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. The hind feet are more often affected than the front feet and, occasionally, infection may result in a general swelling of the distal (lower) limb. It can also be used on rain rot and other skin issues.

In this type of situation, a syringe (without the needle!

The infection can be spotted by black discharge accompanied by a foul odor. Unhygienic conditions. Lastly, shoeing with full pads traps moisture between the pad and the foot and impedes the natural airflow that would otherwise assist to fight the build-up of bacteria. That opens the field to most of the on-the-shelf products that we wipe on or spray on. The infection is accelerated by lack of proper hoof hygiene.

As equine science has progressed over the years, many of these “remedies” are now red flagged and known to cause more harm than help.

Cleaning out all the grooves of the frog and using ointments and oils suited to the climate conditions and the condition of the hoof also help keep frogs healthy. If you suspect that the thrush has spread, apply a thin layer of an aqueous solution containing 10% formalin, instead of the eucalyptus oil (again, be careful not to get it on the skin). This is because your professional will trim away any dead or diseased tissue so you will be able to easily access any infection with Banixx. This article originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Practical Horseman. An alternative is to buy the product, “ToMorrow”, from your local Agway, Tractor Supply, or equivalent.

Lower Fuel Prices Bring Some Relief For Farmers This Season

The wire scratch is used to remove sole and frog horn and debris after the hoof pick is used and more thoroughly cleans the bottom of the foot than just the hoof pick or a softer brush. Can i have sex when i have a yeast infection? – health essentials from cleveland clinic. Coconut oil - antimicrobial and conditioning, helping to make a 'paint' like emulsion. “I’m a fan of natural materials, like leather pads, and I’ll pack under those leather pads with medicated sole pack,” he added. Due to it being a paint we can make it with a much higher concentration of Zinc Sulphate, Honey and add Zinc Oxide, Eucalyptus and Coconut oil to give it a very powerful effect. The infected area will be black in color and will easily disintegrate when scraped with a hoof pick. Thrush treatment can be lengthy and expensive; it's easier to work to prevent it in the first place rather than care for it once it occurs.

Failing to do so could result in the horse getting thrush, a common and unpleasant infection of the grooves on either side of the frog. The horse needs a tetanus shot and antibiotics (under veterinary supervision) and daily foot soaking (20 to 30 minutes per soaking) to clear up the infection. A longer, narrower foot that is prone to contracted heels will frequently have a deeper, narrower frog with compressed grooves that trap bacteria-laden dirt or sand and are harder to clean out with ordinary foot care. Brush the product deep into the frog and affected areas with a toothbrush.

The infection often results in degeneration of the horn (the protective frog callous).

Treatment And Prevention

Depending on the stage of the thrush infection, it can cause some mild hoof soreness to very serious lameness if the infection is not addressed promptly. × Expand Monique Craigwww. Huffpost is now a part of verizon media, bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you. Shakalis and his research team was to target deeply rooted thrush without harming the surrounding hoof tissue. What might have helped clear up the thrush problem with a couple of treatments might then turn into another problem due to a ‘too much’ or ‘too often’ approach. Some bleeding may occur, and a strong, foul odor is emitted by the infected area. Weakened by its reduced protective outer horn, the frog tissue becomes more susceptible to penetration by the bacteria and, consequently, development of the disease. Kopertox is another alternative that can be used on the bottom of the foot, and, Hague says, this is often better than using Keratex or formaldehyde. Check really well the bulb area with bar, plate and any other shoes that cover up much of the frog and the grooves.

They are usually squirted or sprayed onto the cleaned sole of the foot every day to every other day.

“The frog is recessed down inside the foot and doesn’t get much frog pressure, and the foot also tends to collect more mud and dirt,” says Norman. Horses with poor hoof conformation, such as long and narrow feet, are more likely to develop thrush. Some horses are prone to thrush and have recurrent episodes no matter how clean their environment is kept. It will stay infected. Resolve to keep cleaner, drier stalls and increase your horse's exercise time. A 30-minute soak in apple cider vinegar or dilute chlorine dioxide (Oxine or White Lightning, for example) will do the job on the microbes, but not their spores. Thrush thrives in dirty and damp conditions.

  • As aforementioned, moisture is not necessarily the main cause for thrush issues but, of course, horses should not stand idle in ankle-deep mud day in and day out.
  • Regardless of the thrush remedy that is used, the most important steps in dealing with thrush are cleaning and trimming.
  • Found mostly in small children and older adults, human thrush is caused when a yeast known Candida, which is naturally found on the body, grows out of control.
  • If the sensitive tissue in the depths of the grooves is infected, the horse will become lame.
  • Eucalyptus oil - as well as being an effective antimicrobial, this essential oil assists in the toughening of weakened structures.
  • The invading army that causes “thrush” can have many mercenaries, and it is asking a great deal of any one treatment to go out there and kill ‘em all.
  • However, a moist environment should be avoided in animals with thrush.

How To Keep Your Horse Hydrated During the Winter

Kopertox is a good option that provides water-resistant protection. Provide the cleanest, driest environment possible. A hoof that is infected with thrush will exhibit soreness and contain black, pus-like liquid. Treatment will involve antibiotics or a tetanus booster if necessary.

Keeping hooves clean of dirt, debris and excess moisture is the best way to prevent thrush.

Not only does a good trim keep the foot healthy by providing balance and support, it also removes dead frog growth, allowing air to circulate and kill off the bacteria. The most important is that horses eliminate (manure and urine) from the back end and the hind feet are more likely to be standing in this material than are the front feet, particularly in a stall situation. Chemically cooking the surface proteins to create a deeper low oxygen environment hasn’t solved the problem but has counter-productively created a recurring problem. (If there are flaps or shelves of compromised frog, have your farrier pare them away so the fungus is easier to reach.) Moyer describes canker as an explosive form of granulation tissue that tends to outgrow its blood supply, leading to a particularly noxious odor. Loss of frog shape and integrity Standard texts on equine health often suggest that horses develop thrush as a result of sub-standard living conditions. Better yet, try for a longer turnout in a clean field. If you’re not sure what Thrush looks like, look at the photo below.

Ideally prior to exposure to muddy fields. Thrush is caused by anaerobic bacteria and usually affects horses that live in wet conditions. A horse who is exposed to "clean" mud that is more or less free of manure and urine isn't especially likely to develop thrush, but one who stands in urine-soaked bedding for most of the day is a prime candidate. Because of the applicator’s length and narrowness, the consumer is assured that whichever remedy is chosen will get applied deeply to where it is needed.

Hoof Help: Thrush

Frequent foot cleaning is important to help prevent thrush. You’ve seen it many a time–a horse gallops across a field and dirt clods fly every which way. Thrush is an infection of the central and lateral sulcus, or clefts, of the frog of a horse's foot. “I’ve seen thrush in dry, arid places—where you would never expect it—in feet that were not healthy,” says Nelson. The photograph below will give you an idea of before and after treatment of thrush.

After picking out and cleaning the hooves, apply eucalyptus oil – an anti-fungal antiseptic – once a day as a preventative measure. Pick out his feet daily to keep the infection from getting any worse. This one diet cured my chronic yeast infections and cleared my acne. Do not overfeed your horse.

  • On the three horses on which it was used, we saw improvement or a complete removal of thrush when used regularly.
  • Left untreated, that cleft will develop into a crevice that’s as deep as your pick’s tip is long – or deeper.
  • They said that cleaning the feet and removing diseased tissue from the clefts are the necessary first steps in treating the cause of thrush, regardless of the commercial thrush products that may be used.
  • It is found in babies because their immune systems are not yet strong enough to fight it off.
  • This can occur for a variety of reasons, including genetic abnormalities such as a clubfoot, and farriery issues such as a horse with sheared or low heels.

The History of Horseshoes

Like most things equine, it’s a little bit more nuanced than the prevailing wisdom would dictate. Sometimes the shape of your horse’s hoof can increase chances of developing thrush. 10 home remedies for vaginal yeast infection: what you can do now. Below are our top picks in horse thrush treatment products.

The damage can extend as far as the heels and cause hoof contraction.

Much of this is to do to a misinformed public or even due to the tradition of use. It's milder to sensitive tissues than bleaches, copper sulfate or turpentine, and can also be used before applying sole pads and silicon to toughen thin-soled feet and reduce bacteria counts. In addition, regular trimming of hooves and frog by a farrier or hoof care practitioner is important to maintain good hoof conformation and frog health. There may be a few factors contributing to this. One species of bacterium (Fusobacterium necrophorum) is particularly aggressive, invading and destroying the frog, sometimes exposing the deeper sensitive tissues.

It takes two things for an infection to hit a hoof:

Such balance lends itself to even loading, compression, and concussion, all of which promote good vascularity and overall foot health. In other words, prevention and proactive farm management is crucial. With a syringe you can squirt it just where you need it and can aim it into the clefts and crevices of the frog. The collateral sulci are deeper toward the heel bulbs and become shallower toward the point (apex) of the frog. Zava, infections occur in children with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy. While the thought of spring time is sure to bring a quick smile to your face, this time of year brings its own challenges for horse owners.

If you think your horse is susceptible to thrush, try Fauna Care’s anti-fungal spray as a way to fight infection.