Hoof Nutrition Intelligence EDITOR’S NOTE: The entry below was edited to answer readers’ questions regarding the use of softening and penetrating agents.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.

Below you will find the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: What is causing the rotten smell I get when I clean out the hooves on my mare?

By J. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS, and Scott Gravlee, DVM, CNS, Life Data Labs

A: She probably has thrush, as it’s a bacterium that’s always present. Thrush bacteria are opportunistic, multiplying in the absence of oxygen and the presence of waste.

Many thrush remedies are caustic and will harden the tissues of affected areas. The offending microbes that are deep seated will often continue to divide in the resulting anerobic environment made more severe by the caustic treatment. Utilizing grain extract will help keep the thrush-affected areas soft and pliable to allow a penetrating agent to deliver antimicrobials into the deeper tissue. A good antimicrobial penetrating agent is Tea Tree Oil. Tea Tree Oil works great with low levels of iodine in combatting thrush.

Frank Gravlee and Scott Gravlee are veterinarians and equine nutritionists at Life Data Labs, Inc.in Cherokee, Ala.

Click here to read part 1 of the Sept. 19, 2019 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: How well do horse owners do in spotting the early stages of laminitis?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine). Absorbine

Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.