Hoof Corner: Our Recommendations for Thrush Treatment
by James & Yvonne Welz ©2008
If you've got a bad case of thrush, the two most important things to do are:
1) Identify and remedy the environmental conditions that caused the thrush
These may include: urine areas, mud holes, built-up manure, standing in dirty stalls or small paddocks, failure to thoroughly clean out hooves regularly (daily), lack of movement needed for good circulation, contaminated bedding or ground material, climate extremes.
2) Identify and remedy the problems in your horse's trim that contributed to the thrush
These may include: contracted hooves, overgrown bars either weightbearing or (more common) flattened out onto the sole - creating nonfunctional bars, toes too long, heels too high with frogs not weightbearing, trim creating heel pain so frogs are not weightbearing despite low heels, any lack of heel-first movement, hoof walls peripherally loaded due to horseshoes or any trimming which places weight on hoof wall.
We haven't personally lived in every environmental condition, and there may be some difficult environments where thrush is a real and persistent problem. However, every time we are shown hooves of horses with chronic thrush, the trim is always deficient. If trim and environment are improved as much as possible, most cases of persistent thrush should clear up, without drastic chemical treatments.
These are the only thrush treatments that we have ever recommended:
1) Soak hooves in Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water. Use a strong ratio of 1 cup ACV per gallon of water, and soak for 1/2 hour daily.
2) Soak hooves (1/2 hour daily) in water mixed with a small amount of Tea Tree Oil, and/or spray hooves using a spray bottle of water mixed with Tea Tree Oil. Use 10 drops of TTO to 2 cups of water. (You can find Tea Tree Oil in our store, or at health food stores.) You can also apply TTO straight, directly to the affected area.
3) Use liquid bee Propolis extract, and apply directly to affected area. (You can find Propolis in our store (Thrush Crush), or at health food stores.)
If you do feel the need to resort to a strong topical chemical treatment (which we have never done nor endorsed), remember that you still have to remedy the cause of the thrush, and address the trim and environmental problems. If those don't improve, the thrush will return, despite chemical treatments.
This area of The Horse's Hoof represents OUR own personal opinions and recommendations regarding hooves and hoof care. We are James & Yvonne Welz, owners of The Horse's Hoof Magazine and website. While the emphasis of The Horse's Hoof is to promote barefoot as a whole, and provide a place for practitioners of all methods to gather and interact, we do have our own personal way of doing things. Throughout this past decade, we have been quietly practicing barefoot horse care on hundreds of horses, ironing out what really works, and here we will share our knowledge with you.
©2008 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.
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