Farriers' Roundtable

Q. What’s the best treatment and care for a foot with thrush? —Virginia Farrier

A: The first thing is a clean environment. The stall has to be kept clean and dry, then the feet have to be picked out regularly. Second, all of the dead tissue has to be cleaned out by the farrier using a steady hand and a very sharp hoof knife. It’s a good idea to wear disposable gloves. 

The thrush is usually in the cleft of the frog and the sulci, but sometimes it works its way up the bulbs of the heels and forward from that point around the coronary band. Once the thrush starts working around the hairline, I’ve seen people use a fine, very soft wire brush that looks like a toothbrush to clean that up. The objective of the farrier is to get the affected tissue accessible to the caretaker, remove dead tissue, and very importantly, to allow air to get to the root of the disease.

Thrush often creates pockets that the horse’s caretaker can’t get to, or in severe cases, is hesitant to get to, during his or her daily routine. Once you have those areas opened up and get the caretaker involved, you’ve got the thrush on a downhill path. Then you can use any type of thrush medicine; there are a number of products that work well on the disease. One nice trick I learned is to push cotton balls into a deeply affected cleft, then carefully pour…

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