Horse thrush is a diseased condition of the equine hoof that rots away the frog area. This hoof decay is caused by a bacterial infection that cannot survive in the presence of air (known as “anaerobic bacteria”). If left untreated, this condition will often escalate to extreme states of pain and discomfort, rendering the horse completely lame.
Thrush thrives in wet unsanitary environments, places where bacteria can exist. This is only one of the factors that determines the chance of a thrush infection however. Horses are quite capable of living in wetter environments without thrush.
Determining Factors of a Thrush Infection
- Conformation of the hoof
- Proper hoof care
- Living condition(inside and outside)
- Proper exercise
Prevention is the best way to manage this disease. Extreme cases of thrush usually take a while to develop. It is important to note that proper hoof care will go a long way to reducing the chances of any “extreme” thrush cases.
There are a few warning signs to look for when looking for a thrush infection. The first three on the list, if assessed correctly, are a definite sign of thrush.
Symptoms of Thrush
- Foul smell from the bottom of the hoof
- Black pus-like substance oozing from the frog area
- Frog substances appear to be atrophying and decaying
- Lameness and obvious discomfort when thumb pressure is applied to the frog.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Thrush is a completely manageable disease. The main steps to helping a horse recover from thrush are the same as the determining factors of a thrush infection plus one, Destroy the Bacteria. This is a very important step and must be done to ensure that the infection cannot continue. Often a home-made or commercially ready product such as “Copper Sept” or “Thrush Buster” will be used to seep into the nooks and crannies of the layers of the frog and surrounding area to search out and elminate all of the thrush bacteria.
When a hoof thrush infection is thought to be starting, it is important to take immediate action to eliminate it. A competent farrier or veterinarian will be able to confirm a suspected thrush case and the extent of the infection.