Categories: Horses

Does your horse suffer from thrush? Follow these guidelines

The frog acts as a shock absorber for the foot as it strikes the ground. If the frog is infected with thrush, your horse will be reluctant to walk and could even become lame, warns Kim Dyson.

As a child, I used to be afraid of picking up a horse’s hoof. If you are reluctant, even as an adult, to do so, spend time with those who are more comfortable around horses.

You’ll soon see that if you are gentle with your horse, it will become accustomed to having its feet lifted up.

I mention this because it is good practice to examine, pick out and clean your horse’s hooves twice daily, or even more frequently in wet weather.

Failing to do so could result in the horse getting thrush, a common and unpleasant infection of the grooves on either side of the frog. (This is the triangular-shaped section of the hoof that extends mid-way from the heels towards the toe.)

Caused by Fusobacterium necrophorum, thrush produces an accumulation of moist, black, foul-smelling gunk in the grooves. If your horse has become reluctant to move forward and you can see no visible cause such as an injury, you might well be dealing with thrush.

If the sensitive tissue in the depths of the grooves is infected, the horse will become lame.

After picking out and cleaning the hooves, apply eucalyptus oil – an anti-fungal antiseptic – once a day as a preventative measure. Never apply pure eucalyptus oil to the skin, especially if the thrush has spread into the foot’s sensitive tissues, as the oil will burn and cause great discomfort.

If you suspect that the thrush has spread, apply a thin layer of an aqueous solution containing 10% formalin, instead of the eucalyptus oil (again, be careful not to get it on the skin). However, since lameness is almost sure to follow, it’s best to contact a vet at this stage.

Treatment will involve antibiotics or a tetanus booster if necessary.

While the horse is recovering, feed it 30g of fresh, crushed garlic three times a day until the hoof is healthy again.

Horses prone to thrush are likely to have a copper deficiency. Feeding 30g rose hip seed oil (extracted from Rosa canina) twice a day will go a long way towards preventing the infection from re-occurring.

Other precautions
Bedding soaked in urine and manure is a breeding ground for infection. Keep the stable clean and the bedding fresh. Dry sand, straw or shavings are best.

If your horse lives outside, make sure it has access to a dry shelter.

As thrush is contagious, you will need to disinfect your stables in the event of an outbreak.

Finally, ensure that your farrier removes the excess frog when trimming the hooves and cleans out the grooves on either side of the frog.

This will have the added benefit of improving the horse’s balance!

Kim Dyson breeds Arabians and Lusitanos, and has 22 years’ experience in holistic equine and human body work.

Published by
Kim Dyson

Recent Posts

  • Caxton
  • South Africa
  • Use only text

Double life sentences for farm attackers welcomed

The double life sentences recently handed down to six convicted farm attackers by the High Court in Vryheid have been…

10 hours ago
  • Caxton
  • South Africa
  • Use only text

‘Agriculture department to focus on reform, market access’

The newly formed Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development under the leadership of Minister Thoko Didiza, is still…

12 hours ago
  • World

US farmers brace themselves for further crop damage

Farmers in the US have expressed concern about the hot, dry conditions currently being experienced, which comes shortly after the…

1 day ago
  • Agribusiness
  • Featured Home Image

How African superfoods inspire local agripreneur

Indigenous African ingredients and food traditions are underrepresented on the local and international markets. Black Umbrellas Global Entrepreneur Week 2018…

1 day ago
  • Caxton
  • South Africa
  • Use only text

OVK increases turnover despite ‘challenging conditions’

The agribusiness, OVK Group, has announced an increase of 8, 55% in turnover for the 2018/2019 financial year compared with…

1 day ago
  • Featured Home Image
  • Letter from the editor

How to turn Africa’s food fortunes around

Should African countries fail to increase food production and processing to become at least partly self-sufficient, it will be one…

3 days ago