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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Friday, 23 July 2010

Thrush busting

Previous post mentioned just how much Thrush there is around at the moment - which seems to be a common theme.

I've found that treating symptoms rather than cause is exhausting, frustrating, sometimes expensive and can have nasty, unintended side effects.

Hard working, naturally kept hooves generally have far less of a problem with Thrush which needs damp, anerobic environment to thrive.

A well kept hoof doesn't provide a happy home for Thrush. The solar surface of the hoof is relatively smooth, forming a natural bowl, making it harder for yuck to make a permanent residence. As the hoof works it flexes (helping to ease out any dirt) and the external structures get scoured by the mixture of soil, grit and the like that the horse travels over.

The frog, conditioned by working hard over a variety of terrain is tough, leathery, has few if any tatters and resists fungal/bacterial attack.

And of course there is no shoe for the Thrush to hide under and no stretched white line for it to nest in.

But if you do get Thrush then be prepared to attack it on two levels. The first being to sort out the management so you grow a healthier hoof and the second is to make the environment less suitable for fungal/bacterial infections.

I counsel against the common practice of using noxious products. If you wouldn't put it on your hair then think twice about putting it on a hoof, after all they are made of the same sort of stuff.

You could do worse than using salt water to scrub the hoof (daily), or use cider vinegar to change the PH (but it stings), again daily. If you have a very stubborn case or no patience and no problem with budget you could try Pete's Goo or maybe a White Lightening or CleanTrax treatment. (Personally I have found daily slooshing with salt water just as effective).

6 comments:

Mrs Mom said...

Never thought about the salt water. Have to keep that in mind. For deep tissue thrush, I'll either soak cotton balls and insert them into the affected areas, daily, for several days/ as long as needed, or Pete's goo, or AlbaDry (dairy cattle teat treatment. Comes in great applicator tube. Very similar to Pete's Goo, and easier to apply.) Love Clean Trax and White Lightening too.

Whew- caught a whiff of hoof.... must go change my shirt and do more laundry....

Sophie said...

Salt water cheap, non toxic, effective. In wet weather nappy cream helps.

I do the cotton balls with nappy cream, but with a healthy frog/hoof shape the only thrush I see on own horse is very superficial/surface so a quick salt sloosh sorts it.

Breanna said...

I've been having problems with thrush too, despite the fact that all the horses are out 24/7 and it has been dry as a bone for the last two months. I use a combination of Pete's goo and cider vinegar, and that seems to work great! Never would have thought of salt water either, but I will have to try that.

Wolfie said...

I love salt water! If I haven't been out to the stables for a few days, I pick my guy's feet, then poor some salt water over the sole and frog and then use the brush. Clean as a whistle!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

can u use epsom salt..or regular kosher salt? what is the mix of water to salt? thx :)

Sophie said...

Hi Kristen

As some folk use an Epsom Salt solution to soften a hoof I wouldn't recommend it for Thrush Busting. Just use regular table salt. I am sure someone has a precise measurement somewhere, but not me. I just put in a tablespoon into a pint or a good handful into a gallon. It's got to be a noticeably salty solution, it doesn't need to be so strong it makes you gag.

If for some reason a salt solution is a problem you can shake the salt over the bottom of the foot - use a toothbrush or similar to scrub it into the crevices. This can be left on unless the foot is going to be on a surface that might be damaged by the salt.

When probing/salting or otherwise working with a deep central sulcus bear in mind these can be sensitive and maybe painful. So take care to avoid a hoof in the tooth!

(Please remember all suggestions in this blog are just that and anything you do as a result of reading this blog is entirely at your own risk!)

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