Thrush in Horses

Thrush in Horses

Wet and muddy conditions are an ideal breeding ground for an unpleasant, smelly, and painful condition known to all horse owners as thrush. It’s not just outdoor conditions that allow it to thrive, muddy, wet, and dirty stalls can also lead to this common but unpleasant condition.

Although it is common, it should not be neglected. While it does not usually cause lameness, if left untreated, can lead to longer-term problems.

What is thrush in horses?

Thrush is a bacterial infection that affects the soft tissue in the hoof, the area better known as the frog. This “v” shaped area extends from the front to the rear of the hoof. The cause of the infection can vary and could be fungi or bacteria that can lead to thrush developing in the hoof.

What causes thrush in horses’ feet?

Thrush can be caused by various bacteria but Fusobacterium necrophorum is particularly aggressive. However, thrush can also be caused by a fungal infection. Damp, moist, dirty ground allows the condition to affect the horses’ hooves. This can be in a dirty stable or a damp pasture –  both can lead to the ideal conditions for thrush to develop and flourish.

Thrush used to be considered the result of poor stable hygiene. That is not necessarily the case and the shape of the hoof can have a major impact on the propensity of thrush to develop. For example, a small, narrow frog or deep central groove can lead to dirt being compacted.

It is important to regularly pick out and clean the feet but unfortunately, some horses are just more prone to thrush than others.

What are the symptoms of thrush in horses?

Thrush can develop gradually and the symptoms might not be obvious to begin with. However, as it develops, it produces a thick, black discharge that is foul-smelling. It can become painful for the horse and you might notice that one foot is being favoured. Thrush can even lead to swelling of the lower limb.

What does thrush in a horse hoof look like?

The first diagnosis of thrush is usually the smell. It’s a strong, unpleasant odour that smells like rot. When you look at a hoof infected with thrush, there can be a thick black discharge which is the source of the odour.

Chloripet Equine can help to get rid of thrush in horses’ feet.

The Chloripet team would like to emphasise that if the infection is severe or you are worried, a vet should be consulted.

The active ingredient in Chloripet is the same as is produced by the white blood cells of all mammals. It is one of nature’s most powerful disinfectants and will destroy viruses, bacteria, fungi, and spores within seconds. It does so without using any hazardous or toxic chemicals.

It is worth remembering that Chloripet destroys all pathogens – not just bacteria. Chloripet Equine is a bactericide, virucide, sporicide, and fungicide. This is ideal for dealing with thrush which can be caused by any one of a number of different conditions.

Chloripet Equine holds veterinary approvals (EN14675 & EN1656) and will help with all cuts, scrapes, and even post-operative wounds. Using Chloripet will clean, destroy bacteria, and promote the healing process. Chloripet Equine is:

  • Non-toxic and not harmful if ingested.
  • 100% biodegradable – contains no harsh chemicals, alcohol, or toxins.
  • Safe to use near eyes and ears.

How to treat thrush in horses?

  • Move the horse to a dry, clean environment
  • Clean the hoof and remove any necrotic debris. Pare down to healthy tissue.
  • Apply Chloripet Equine to the foot ensuring all areas are thoroughly soaked. Chloripet needs to be in contact with the infected area in order to destroy the infection.
  • The most effective way to apply is with a swab-wrapped pick which has been soaked in Chloripet. Take care to swab down the sides of the frog, very much like as if you were picking out the hoof. The goal is to get the swab into the cracks and really remove all the fungus. You will notice the swab turning grey and dirty looking. Keep replacing the swab and clean away until the swab comes out clean. Then give the whole hoof a good scrub with Chloripet to make sure all nooks and crannies are treated.
  • Repeat daily until the infection is controlled and the tissue is healed.
  • Keeping the stall as clean and as dry as possible is important to help the healing process.

How to prevent thrush in horses?

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying that ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’. Wise words indeed and I am sure your horse would agree.

It can be difficult to fight the weather but reducing mud in the field will definitely help. If kept in a stall, keeping it dry and removing any urine / manure will make a big difference. Keeping hooves clean of dirt, debris and excess moisture is the best way to prevent thrush.

Chloripet fogging machines are also an ideal way to reduce the build-up of pathogens in enclosed spaces such as stalls.