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What is Thrush In Horses?

We all know someone who has smelly feet – whether it be from poor hygiene or just bad luck, it’s not enjoyable for anyone involved. However, if you’re smelling something that reminds you of rotting dairy around your horse’s hoof, you should probably take a closer look. Thrush in horses may be the culprit – lets learn more about it.

Thrush is a painful, non-contagious bacterial infection that infects your horse’s hoof. Bacteria, fungi, and microbes can get into the frog (soft tissue area between the heel and walls of hoof) and cause an infection. The bacteria will ferment in the frog, and make it deteriorate over time.

The result of the infection is a thick, black discharge from the frog smelling similar to rotten dairy. Gross, right? Thrush in horses can be extremely painful, and even cause lameness if left untreated. Some horses are more likely to get infected than others.

How To Prevent Thrush In Horses

Although thrush may seem intimidating and dangerous, preventing it can be as easy as keeping your stall clean. Dark, wet conditions are perfect for thrush-causing bacteria to grow, so avoiding these conditions will help reduce the risk. Manure, wet hay, dirt, and other organic materials are straightforward ways for bacteria to find their way to your horse’s frog and start causing trouble, for example. 

Keep Stalls Clean

To minimize the risk of infection, keeping the stalls clean is crucial. This way, your horse will be less likely to have these materials caked up on their hooves. There are many other benefits to regular stall cleaning, too. 

Clean Hooves Daily

One of the most straightforward ways to prevent thrush in horses is to clear their hooves of manure, dirt, hay, and other organic matter. If you keep this up every day, it’s much less likely that you’ll see an infection. Another benefit is that if your horse does get an infection, you’ll be able to catch it early on. Use this time to build trust with your horse while keeping them safe with proper hoof care.

Hoof It, Baby!

Exercise is a great way to prevent thrush in horses while staying healthy. Movement encourages the frog to naturally flush and clean itself out, and your horse will feel better overall. Just make sure that you don’t let the hooves get too dirty in the first place.

How to Treat Thrush In Horses

The sooner you realize your horse has thrush, the better. If it’s early in the infection stages, a topical ointment is key for treating and fighting further infection. If the infection looks bad or if you’re not sure what stage it’s in, you should call your trusted horse health care professional for an evaluation and further instruction.

A farrier can also treat the thrush. They might treat it like an unclean wound – trimming away the dead tissue on the frog and cleaning it. Trimming the frog to be on the same level as the heel and hoof will promote healthy growth in the future, too. 

BRD Vet Rx has been helping horses stay happy and healthy for almost 100 years. View our products or contact us today to learn more.

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