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Recurrent Thrush

I am a first time horse owner so not very knowledgeable. Our horse is boarded at a barn owned by friends. She stays in a rubber matted stall with pine shavings overnight and turned out during the day. There seems to be a problem with recurrent thrush at the barn. Several horses have had it and not always when wet weather might be the culprit. Our horse has had two very mild cases in 4 months and we are pretty meticulous with foot care. I suspect it may be related to inadequate bedding in the stalls. Although they are mucked out daily, the bedding seems pretty sparse to me. But then what do I know? Hoping for some advice before addressing. As I said, family friends so don’t want to step on any toes. And my daughter LOVES riding with this trainer so would like for it to work out.

I would get a bottle of ThushBuster and treat once a week.

Most thrush is farrier-induced, so if the barn uses the same farrier, I’d start there.

Sparse bedding can be subjective, but certainly if they are standing in manure and urine for 12 hours a day, that could contribute.

how muddy is the turnout. the ground could be very soft and muddy even if it has;t rained that day

[QUOTE=coco beans;8473409]
how muddy is the turnout. the ground could be very soft and muddy even if it has;t rained that day[/QUOTE]

It’s not always the mud that’s the issue,it’s manure & pee that’s mixed into to the mud. My horse’s stand in mud come spring 24/7 and never have thrush.

Are you sure it’s thrush and not canker? If it’s a barnwide problem it’s probably isn’t canker. http://www.thehorse.com/articles/12382/canker-what-is-it

If it’s just thrush, Hawthorne’s Sole Pack is a good preventative. It’s just brushed on. If the horse already has thrush, the special thrush/white line soaks are good. Then follow up with Sole Pack every so often (read directions). The old treatments for thrush were bleach or iodine water or copper sulfate (Coppertox). It’s kind of gospel that deeper bedding is better, but it takes more time to clean. You might ask the BO if your bringing a few bags of extra bedding
would be a problem.

I’d also consider a hoof supplement like NuHoof Maximizer which worked wonders for a horse of mine who was thrush prone.

It’s not always the mud that’s the issue,it’s manure & pee that’s mixed into to the mud. My horse’s stand in mud come spring 24/7 and never have thrush.[/QUOTE]

Agree, mud isn’t a problem by itself.

But, if it’s combined with contracted heels (farrier fault) and/or too much manure/urine, then it just contributes to the problem.

First: does your horse really have thrush? Real thrush is nasty, the feet stink and the frog is clearly being eaten away. I have only seen this IRL a couple of times, never on my own horse, and it is unmistakable.

On the other hand, hooves and frogs change with the seasons. In wet weather, the frogs will become softer, the frogs may shed, and the sole and wall may become softer. Several horse owners I know interpret this as “mild thrush.” Some of them treat aggressively, with White Lightning; some of them treat possibly ineffectively, by soaking for hours in cider vinegar.

As far as depth of bedding: I think it’s a tradeoff. To some extent, bedding will soak up the urine that attacks the horse’s hooves. But on the other hand, bedding will pack up in the hooves and can cause problems. Lots of barns use rubber mats and sparse bedding these days, without problems; it is standard practice.

Clean bedding packing in the feet is ok. Even a bit of manure mixed in is ok to an extent. Both are definitely better than having the foot fully packed with manure.

Horses bedded on mats for any length of time (like all day, or all night) should have bedding deep enough that all the urine soaks through and is absorbed by the lower layers of bedding. Sure, it will get mixed in and distributed, but at that point it’s diluted.

Too little bedding, and urine pools on the mats to be stepped in, or almost as bad, seeps through cracks and makes for nasty ground underneath. It’s also more likely more manure will pack directly in the feet.

Laying down to sleep on mats bedded to thinly easily leads to hock and fetlock sores.

Recurrent thrush is a management problem. It could be too little bedding in the stalls. Or crowded, muddy turnouts. Or lovely turnouts with mud where the horses need to stand to eat hay. etc.

You really need an experienced person to make a barnwide plan if this is a persistent problem in multiple horses. Ideally, that person would be the barn vet.

If the majority of the horses are getting and keeping thrush, then I’d definitely bring it up with the Barn Manager because turnout conditions and stall cleanliness are likely culprits. If it’s a few horses that are getting mild thrush occasionally, then I wouldn’t be too worried. My OTTB has particularly yucky feet and they almost always are tiny bit black around the frog. It’s possible that your horse is prone to mild thrush and needs some extra attention or, as Scribbler said, the feet may just be changing with the weather. I would only worry if the smell is very bad, or if the frog looks very obviously eaten away. As far as treatment, I use dish soap and a very stiff scrub brush (the kind you use on floors or tires) to clean his hooves (bottoms and sides) about once per week. I also use hooflex every few days if I can and make sure that I get it in all the nooks and crannies (heel bulb, any quarter cracks, nail holes, chips, etc) really well. Good luck!

I’m guessing with the mats and sparse bedding the stalls don’t drain very well so your horse stands in its own pee too much. Been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

Started buying my own shavings because of both thrush and bed-sores on my horse, and magically both problems resolved when she had more than 2" of bedding in her stall. I also talked to the barn owner and took the mats out, topped by 6-8" of bedding the problem sorted itself (I treated the thrush but it didn’t come back).

I’m still curious as to what symptoms the OP is seeing in her horse, and others?

Everything has already been mentioned as far as address the trim, diet & environment. I just wanted to add that if those things are addressed but thrush is still occurring, then do soaks with either White Lightening or Clean Tracks. I have had good success with soaking twice, two weeks apart. If that clears it up then do maintenance 3x per week with No Thrush Dry powder.

For easier searching - CleanTrax :slight_smile:

Topical’s will only do so much. More research is coming out that thrush and contracted hooves go hand in hand and if the hoof form is not improved the thrush will not go away. I would get a second opinion on the hoof care these horses are receiving

I like using oxine ( white lightening). Then if needed ,Pete Ramey has a mixture of athlete’s foot cream and triple antibiotic.
Just getting shoes off or making sure the heels are not contracted can make a huge difference
Healthy trims,exercise and balanced diet is super important,too.

In addition to proper farriery, husbandry and good groceries, I have had fantastic results using sugardine (1 part sugar to 2 parts betadine). It disinfects the clefts and also hardens the sole. Eradicates thrush in an otherwise healthy foot.

White Lightning mixed with white vinegar also works well.

Up here, we all know that standing out in the snow all day is the BEST cure for thrush, but I’m guessing that’s not abundant in the OP’s neck of the woods.

My old barn had a very bad thrush problem - I think 15/20-ish horses had it? Turnout was abysmal - deep mud and manure was only removed once a year when it froze. Stalls were ok, but my boy needed 24/7 turnout to keep his little brain from exploding.

We moved to a new barn this past summer and his thrush pretty much disappeared within a month. New paddocks still get muddy if it rains, but they get picked 3-4 times a week so the mud is mostly mud. This place also feed a much higher quality grain than the old place…I think that has a lot to do with his rain rot/scratches disappearing as well.

There isn’t a lot you can do about the footing in turnout in terms of drainage, but maybe you can pick it more often and see if that happens? Same as the stall. If my guy is ever inside due to bad weather, I’ll scoop out the nasty bits before I go home just so he doesn’t grind them in stall mats (I’ve mentioned this to the barn owner, just so she knew I didn’t think she wasn’t doing her job properly!).

Keratix makes a good topical that kept my guy from getting really bad. It’s also clear, so you don’t have to worry about getting the dreaded Purple Finger!

I had great luck with athletes foot powder spray.