Horse owners who live in areas where late springtime and summer rainstorms occur need to pay special attention to their horse's feet and hooves.Dampness especially in areas where organic waste accumulates may encourage the growth of bacteria that can infect horses hooves and lead to thrush.
Dampness in areas where organic waste accumulates may encourage the growth of bacteria that can infect horses hooves and lead to thrush. New window.
Thrush is the destruction of the frog by anaerobic bacteria. The condition is not contagious, but can pose a problem for individual horses and can lead to poor hoof condition, degeneration of the horn and lameness.
Stalls and pastures with an environment contaminated by urine and acidic manure are also breeding grounds for the thrush bacteria. The infection is accelerated by lack of proper hoof hygiene. This infection is usually black in color and strong smelling. If the thrush infection is severe enough, it may penetrate the sensitive structure in the hoof and form an abscess.
If the horse's hooves become smelly and thrush is suspected, the hooves, particularly the frog area, should be thoroughly cleaned and trimmed. Using a swab or brush to thoroughly clean the frog and all the cracks is important.
The frog can then be flushed with running water and towel dried before using a recommended disinfectant. This swabbing or scrubbing will help aerate the frog area, and the effectiveness of medication applied to the affected areas will be maximized.
Various medications are on the market for the treatment of thrush, and as usual, a veterinarian is the best source regarding treatment and prevention of thrush. Once cleaned and medicated, the hooves should heal within six to seven days if the horse is kept in clean, dry conditions..
Be sure that the horse’s hooves and stall are being cleaned daily with removal of wet spots and manure. If the horse is kept in a run-in shed, the area should be cleaned weekly to help minimize the buildup of organic matter.
If the horse has the run of a pasture or paddock, make sure swampy areas are drained as quickly as possible after rain storms and remove manure and other organic waste on a daily or weekly basis. Proper sanitation is the best prevention of this common problem.