Dealing with Thrush

The past three months have been so warm and wet that I have been struggling with thrush in Douwe's hooves. He had his winter shoes put on the other day and my farrier, Jerry Harriman, was commenting that it has been difficult for many horses because of the extra moisture. I normally keep my horse's feet picked out every time before I ride, keeping an eye out for thrush or scratches on the heels. But this fall/winter season I have had to pick out his feet twice a day, keeping his feet as dry as possible. I use Thrush Buster regularly and I have found that to be the most effective. The only thing I dislike about it is the purple color that ends up staining my hands and clothes if I am not too careful. I also use hydrogen peroxide when I run out of Thrush Buster because it is more readily available.  I have seen horses with thrush that splits their heels down through the frogs, making them very uncomfortable if they are not wearing shoes. Douwe hasn't had any trouble with his heels, he is having problems in the crevices by his frogs. He had a deep pocket in one of his hind feet that almost hooked up and under his heel. I have never had that happen before to any horse that I have been working with. He has very deep crevices on each hoof by nature and I think that my biggest problem was that my hoofpick was not going deep enough. The key to thrush is to get to the root of the problem and get the medicine all the way to the bottom. On a few occassions I have had to spot-treat his thrush with cotton balls soaked in peroxide or Thrush Buster. First you need to make sure the area is really clean and dry. Then you will apply the medicine to the area and also soak the cotton ball. Using the hoofpick you can get the cotton ball deep in the crevice and really pack it in. This will make sure that you fully treat the area and normally the cotton balls will stay in for a day or two before they fall out. I am amazed at how quickly he heals, sometimes the specific area has already dried and hardened after two days! Here is a good YouTube video on the basics of thrush and how to treat it.httpv://