I’ve been thinking about Big Jake more than usual lately. Now that October is here, it was a year ago when our long nightmare began. It’s time for me to get back on my hoof care pedestal. The next couple of blogs will be about thrush, seedy toe / white line, founder, and the biggest killer of them all, canker.
Thrush is an infection of the sulci, or grooves, around the frog. It is anaerobic, and thrives in an oxygen deprived environment, such as a hoof packed with mud or manure. Previous beliefs thought that horses that had thrush lived in dirty and unsanitary conditions. Research has now shown that any horse, in any living condition, can become infected with thrush. Even with that, thrush is not contagious and cannot be caught by another horse on the same property.
Symptoms of thrush include thick, black, gooey matter surrounding the frog. I’ve also noticed the frog becomes softer. Another tell-tale sign, I’m told, is a very offensive odor coming from the hoof. I’ll be honest, after the stink that came from Jake’s hoof, I’m not the best judge of hoof odor; most of the time I can’t smell a thing anymore. Lameness usually is not a concern if the thrush is caught in the early stages.
Treatment involves getting oxygen to the sulci by cleaning out the hoof often, and keeping the blood moving through the hoof by daily exercise. There are tons of thrush products on the market, and I’m sure most of them work well to get rid of the nasty infection. I use Thrush Buster, or the cheaper Jeffers brand generic equivalent.
When in doubt, contact your farrier and/or your vet if the infection continues with treatment or you think it becomes worse. It’s nothing to fool around with.