Thrush: Causes and Treatments

Thrush: Causes and Treatments

Leslie Batistich

Thrush: Causes and Treatments

Keeping your horse’s feet healthy is a crucial part of maintaining their overall health. Here is some information about the causes of thrush and thrush treatments.


What is Thrush?

Thrush is a bacterial infection of the frog tissue within the hoof. When a split or fissure occurs in the frog, it leaves a void in the tissue that accumulates bacteria and debris. The fissure may also extend into the heels.

While the frog is naturally self-cleaning, injury or bacterial buildup may render the self-cleaning mechanism useless.

 The bacteria and pressure from the debris, in conjunction with the fissure’s extension into the heel, may lead to bleeding, pain, and lameness. A high bacterial buildup in the vulnerable inner frog tissues eventually leads to the development of thrush.


Thrush Treatments

The sooner you begin your horse’s thrush treatment, the better. This helps get your horse out of pain or discomfort and helps promote the longevity and overall health of the hoof.


Below are some useful tips for treating equine thrush:

  • Move the horse into a clean and dry environment
  • Ensure that all debris is removed from the fissure
  • Remove necrotic tissue
  • Soak the hoof in a saline/iodine solution
  • In some cases, topical anti-thrush medication such as Betadine may be used
  • Pack the clean fissure with gauze


Once your horse has received the proper farrier and medical attention, simply closely monitor the area (with the help of your veterinarian and farrier) and ensure that healing is progressing as necessary.


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