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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Category

Thrush Protection In The Winter

The bacteria and fungus that cause thrush in horses thrive in moist places. So when it’s wet and muddy in the winter and your horse is spending more time in their stall, it can create the perfect environment for a painful thrush overgrowth. Protect your horse from thrush this winter with these helpful tips.

Keep Your Horse’s Stall Clean And Dry
A stall that is not mucked often enough may create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Your horse’s stall should be mucked out 1-2 times per day. Make sure your horse’s stall is well drained and ventilated, and keep it dry with fresh, clean bedding.

Ensure Your Horse Gets Enough Exercise
Even in the winter, regular exercise is important to promote circulation to the hooves. If you can, give your horse plenty of opportunities to exercise in a dry environment, especially if their stall is not well ventilated.

Hoof Care To Protect Your Horse Against Winter Thrush
Pick your horse’s hooves at least once daily. Make sure your horse’s hooves are trimmed properly and often. If your horse already has thrush you’ll need to see your farrier, who will cut away necrotic areas so that the treatment can reach healthy tissue.
Look out for signs of thrush, which include a rotting odor, and pasty or blackish discharge. Your horse may avoid putting their weight on the affected hoof and they may seem to be in pain when you touch it.

Avoid Home Remedies
There are many effective treatments for thrush that are accessible and affordable. There’s no need to reach for the caustic chemicals like bleach. Caustic household chemicals can cause unnecessary pain upon application, may harm living tissue, and can make your horse even more susceptible to thrush. Remedies like bacon grease and motor oil seal off the affected area from oxygen, creating an environment where anaerobic bacteria thrives.

Protective Treatments For Thrush
Thrush Buster is a preventative treatment that is applied weekly to protect your horse against thrush. It works by creating an antiseptic barrier that controls bacteria and fungus that cause thrush.
For severe cases of thrush, it may be necessary to bandage the hoof to protect the frog while it heals. In mild cases, bandaging may not be needed, and leaving the hoof uncovered can help it stay dry.