Thrush, The Bacterial Infection
The plentiful rain fall in recent months has a number of benefits. Among these is ample moisture for forage production in pastures and paddocks.
Unfortunately, too much of a good thing (rainwater) can be detrimental, in this case, to the equine population. Thrush, the bacterial infection which occurs on horses’ hooves, is common during excessively wet periods.
The cause is Fusobacterium necrophorum which occurs naturally in the environment. The damp and muddy grounds combined with manure will create the ideal conditions for this bacterium to flourish.
The symptoms are usually first identified when cleaning the animal’s feet. A strong offensive odor will originate from the infected hoof.
The infected area will be black in color and will easily disintegrate when scraped with a hoof pick.
The frog portion of the hoof is frequently the starting point of this problem. The frog is on the hoof’s underside and covers about a quarter of the foot.
The Best Treatment
The best treatment is cleanliness. Pick the hooves twice daily and keep stalls clean and dry, and a commercial thrush treatment may be necessary. Keep the affected animal away from wet grazing areas.
If treated early and managed properly, the horse will recover with no lasting ill effects. For more information see this Michigan State publication Preventing and Treating Thrush in Horses.
|The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating|