Unlike other equine ailments, thrush isn't a debilitating condition. Still, the rancid odor is enough to make any horse owner avoid it. Thrush most commonly crops up in wet, dirty environments, meaning your horse is most at risk during the rainy spring season. Below are five tips to keep your animal's hooves free of the smelly, black ooze:
1. Keep a dry barn
Frequent rain means soggy pastures, and your horse will need somewhere to dry off during turnout time. Keep a shed nearby for your equine to run to, and spread gravel in frequently wet areas to provide more stable footing.
2. Clean the stalls regularly
Fecal matter and urine facilitate the growth of bacteria that quickly lead to thrush. Clean your stalls on a daily basis, if not more frequently. Also, take a look at the type of bedding you use. As Equus Magazine cautioned, certain trees are more acidic than others. Their shavings change the pH of the soil during decomposition, creating a perfect environment for bacteria.
"Grab a hoof pick and gently remove dirt and debris."
3. Pick and inspect the feet
Picking your horse's hooves should already be a primary part of your grooming routine. Every time you brush or bathe your animal, grab a hoof pick and gently remove dirt and debris from the area. Inspect the hoof for abscesses or foreign objects like rocks and nails. If your horse is especially susceptible to thrush, EquiSearch recommended swabbing the frog several times a week with a mixture of bleach and glycerin or glycerin-based hand lotion. Make sure the mixture penetrates all of the hoof's small crevices.
4. Schedule regular farrier visits
Horses with overgrown or unbalanced hooves are at greater risk of developing thrush. Arrange and stick to a farrier schedule for regular trimmings and shoeing. As with foot grooming, this gives you and your farrier the chance to inspect the hooves up close and notice any issues before they become major problems.
5. Provide horse healthcare products
Your horse might not be getting the nutrients it needs for strong hooves from its diet alone. Finish Line's Horse-Shoe is formulated with biotin to support hoof growth. The additional niacin and calcium iodate support circulation to better deliver nutrients to the hooves. Meanwhile, Finish Line's Feet First Coat 2nd contains Omega 3 fatty acids to promote healthy hooves, skin and coats.