If you?ve noticed a foul, strong odor accompanied by a black, oozing discharge when picking out your horse?s feet, it?s likely he has a case of thrush.? Occurring most often through the rainy winter months, thrush is the result of a bacterial infection that can develop if your horse is frequently standing on wet ground.? Additionally, horses can develop thrush from standing in the wet bedding of their stalls.? These moist environments are excellent breeding grounds for the anaerobic bacteria that infect your horse?s feet as they become packed with the contaminated mud or bedding.? Thrush typically affects the horse?s frog and can lead to lameness, infection, and even serious deformities.? Luckily, it is not only easy to catch in the early stages but also responds well to treatment.
Pick out the infected feet thoroughly, then wash with warm water and an iodine scrub and pat dry.? One of the easiest and cheapest methods to deal with thrush is to simply combine an iodine solution with table sugar to form a syrupy paste.? Apply this directly to the horse?s foot, especially in the grooves along the frog, and move your horse to a clean and dry environment.? You will need to keep up this routine daily, for about 5 ? 10 days, until the infection is gone.? In some cases, before applying the medication, you may wish to have your vet or farrier look at your horse and trim back the frog so that no bacteria are trapped inside.
As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.? Keeping your horse?s environment as clean and dry as possible and picking his feet out everyday are excellent ways to prevent a thrush infection.? Since the bacteria cannot survive in oxygenated environments, picking your horse?s feet every day is an excellent way to prevent an outbreak.