It’s Spring Time: This Means Mud and Thrush

woman picking horse's hoof

What is Thrush?


Thrush is an extremely common bacterial infection that effects the hoof of the horse.  The area of the hoof typically most effected is the frog.  The bacteria that causes this infection is called Fusobacterium necrophorum.  This is an anaerobic (low-no oxygen) bacteria that likes to take root in a horse’s clefts and heels.


What type of Horse is Prone to Thrush?


A horse with deep clefts and/ or contracted heels is going to be more prone to thrush.  Environmental factors also play a major role in the likelihood of your horse getting a thrush infection.  Environmental factors include wet muddy pastures/ turnouts and unclean stalls.  So during these muddy spring months owners need to be extra diligent to keep an eye out for the signs of thrush.


What are the Signs my Horse has Thrush?


The first sign of thrush is a strong odor when picking out your horse’s feet.  The areas of the hoof that are infected will be black in color.  These areas of the hoof will easily break and crumble when scraped with a hoof pick.  Horses with a bad infection of thrush can be lame.  If left untreated the infection will migrate deeper into the hoof and it can result in lameness. 


How Do You Treat Thrush?


To treat thrush be sure to pick you horse’s feet twice a day.  The feet can be cleaned with a warm water and/ or detergent or disinfectant.  Once the hoof is cleaned then the frog and effected areas are coated with a thrush treatment product, such as Kopertox, Thrush Buster, or Thrush Remedy.  Home remedies that can also be used include iodine, betadine and sugar, or borax.  However it is always wise to consult your vet and farrier about treatment.  Horses that are being treated for thrush should be kept in a clean and dry environment.  This means No MUDDY SPRING turn out!  Generally thrush is easy to treat.


How do I Prevent my Horse from Getting Thrush?


To prevent thrush infections, clean you horse’s feet regularly and receive proper farrier care.  Also maintain a clean environment, eliminating wet environmental factors will help to prevent the bacteria from taking hold. 


If you have any additional questions about thrush and the treatment of thrush consult your local vet and farrier.  Enjoy the spring weather and keep a nose and eye out for thrush.