Horse Hoof Care: Much Ado About Thrushing
What a wet week we’ve had. After gloriously sunny days of early autumn that followed a summer-long drought, the wet days of the fall I recall from last year have abruptly arrived. And what comes with muddy turnout conditions? Alas, the much-dreaded thrush. Caused by anaerobic bacteria and fungi, it wreaks havoc on the horse’s frog and sulci, producing a black, stinky discharge. So what can be done? I asked my farrier – Murphy Hackett – what preventative measures I can take to keep thrush at bay, and he shared these four expert tips:
1. Pick Away: It may go without saying, but one of the best ways to prevent thrush is by picking hooves regularly; daily at the very least. While it’s often part of the pre-ride grooming routine, aim to pick more regularly, particularly after exposure to mud and other damp surfaces. Be sure to use a hoof pick with a brush so you can get the frog squeaky clean.
2. Farrier TLC: as the weather gets colder and hoof growth slows, it can be tempting to push out appointments with the farrier. However, keeping a regular, consistent schedule with your farrier for shoeing your horse is one key way to curb the formation of thrush.
3. Supplementing: Overall horse hoof health is critical to stave off thrush. Murphy recommends a hoof supplement called Hoof Power to improve hoof resilience. Hoof Power contains a whopping 6,447 milligrams of biotin per serving, in addition to five amino acids which really set it apart from the rest. In particular, dl-Methionine serves to catalyze the proper delivery of nutrients – including biotin – within the body to best ensure its absorption. Where can you find Hoof Power? Contact Us and we’ll connect you to Murphy who is a distributor of the product.
4. Treat Early!: At the first sign of thrush, begin treatment with a high quality product to eradicate thrush-producing bacteria. Murphy recommends Go Dry, which was developed for bovine mastitis in dry cows but which works wonders against thrush. Tomorrow makes a similar product called Dry Cow which is also shown to successfully clear up thrush.
With the sudden onslaught of rain (and snow!), we can enter the rainy season feeling confident, armed with an arsenal of tools against the scourge of thrush to keep those hooves healthy.