Updated: Jan 18
It’s no secret that proper detection and treatment of equine hoof problems is essential for their soundness and to prevent lameness and potential founder. It’s imperative that we as owners and caregivers be vigilant and frequently observe and address any issues related to our furry friends overall hoof health.
One hoof infection common to our climate is called Thrush. It is a fungal/bacterial infection which results in pain and discomfort and can lead to lameness. Thrush is most often found on or around the frog area of the hoof and can compromise its ability to distribute oxygenated blood to the vital hoof structures and then return the blood to the heart. Thrush is prevalent in equines who spend the majority of their time in moist pastures and/or unclean stalls. If thrush is present in the frog, the equine can have a noticeable limp. Upon gently cleaning and inspecting the bottom of the hoof you will notice that the frog and/or central sulcus may have a distinct dark color or is black. A noticeable crack between the heal bulbs is also a good indication of infection. If you gently press on the frog it may secrete a very foul smelling, dark pus. If the hoof is infected and tender, the equine may show signs of discomfort and or pain. It’s crucial that the thrush be treated immediately as it may eventually compromise the hoof structure and possibly the coffin bone. While it’s always best to consult with your Farrier and Veterinarian, if thrush is detected there are some natural home treatments that can be considered.
OK, it is important that we have a thorough and comprehensive understanding of hoof anatomy, ailments and terminology to help us effectively recognize and describe hoof conditions to your Farrier, Veterinarian or Stable /Barn Manager. If boarders, staff or volunteers are novices when it comes to proper hoof care, please take it upon yourself to educate them based on what you know and what you have learned. Consult with your Farrier or Veterinarian thoroughly for an explanation of their experiences and treatments for thrush, and other hoof ailments, to increase your understanding and ability to correctly educate all equine handlers at your facility. We're all in this together. Remember, the happier our equines are, the happier we will be.
The Louisiana Equine Council (LEC) strives to educate its members and keep them abreast of important equine related issues. If you are not currently a member and would like to join us, just click the JOIN NOW button on our website.
Author: Matthew Stefan, LEC Member and Volunteer Writer