Thrush in Horses: Causes, Signs & Treatments
Thrush in horses is a bacterial infection that infects horse's hooves. The tissue around the frog turn's black and necrotic and foul-smelling. Even if you keep your horses hooves very clean they can still get thrush. Treating thrush right away is important so that you can get your horse back on the right track.
What is thrush?
-A common anaerobic bacterial infection of horse's hoof tissue
-Tissue turn's black, necrotic and foul-smelling
-Affects the area around the frog but in severe cases can affect the white line, sole and the sensitive layers of the hoof. If this happens permanent lameness will occur.
What causes thrush in horses?
-Bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum is one cause to thrush and is usually isolated to the affected horse
-Anaerobic bacteria and fungi that grow in the environment can also cause thrush
-When horses are confined to a stall or paddock they can't clean their hooves
-Abnormal hoof growth
-Inappropriate trimming or lack of trimming or shoeing
-Lack of exercise
-Poor circulation to the frog
Clinical signs of thrush?
-Thick, black, puttylike degenerative material on the frog
-Mild cases are usually not lame
-Severe infection will present as painful to walk
-Usually straightforward to diagnose
-Signs of black debris/discharge, bad odor and loss of frog
-Culture for disease causing microorganism
Treatment for thrush?
-Treatment requires a multi-step process:
-Trim away dead and infected tissue
-Stimulate the frog with regular exercise
-Identify and correct the underlying cause of the infection. You will need to work with your veterinarian and farrier on this.
-Pick, clean and medicate the affected foot at least once a day. Talk to your veterinarian about medications.
Thrush in horses can happen in any horse at any time. Cleaning the feet on a regular basis helps to get rid of bacteria that could cause the disease. Also providing adequate amounts of exercise also helps reduce the risk of getting thrush. If thrush does happen to your horse treat it early to prevent permanent lameness from occurring. If treated early thrush will be fully cured with no permanent lameness.
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