Hoof researchers reveal secrets to eliminating chronic thrush and hoof infections.
A team of veterinarians at The Horse-Journal published the results of field trials comparing the effectiveness of the top selling commercial thrush remedies. The field trials also identified the most important steps in treating thrush, such as cleaning the feet and removing diseased tissue. Regardless of what thrush control products you use, these preliminary steps are necessary in order to effectively treat and eliminate chronic thrush and hoof infections.
The Horse-Journal rated hoof thrush as either Mild, Moderate, or Severe:
The Horse-Journal reported that most of the thrush remedies they tested were effective against mild thrush. Mild thrush is often recognized by its obvious black discharge and odor with no deep tissue layer invasions. With mild thrush there is no pain or lameness observed from the hoof. The Journal said that some horse handlers have use diluted peroxide and chlorine bleach to successfully clean mild thrush. Mild thrush sits near the surface and is easier to eliminate, sometimes with one application of a cleaning agent.
Moderate thrush has the black discharge and odor along with some pain observed coming from the heal tissue. This is usually an indication of a more deeply rooted infection. The Horse- Journal said that copper and iodine based products work well on moderate thrush, but they can also be caustic to tender tissues and slow healing. Hoof researchers now believe that repeated daily use of some caustic agents can be counter productive. The hoof condition can be made worse because the treatment can kill the microbes and healthy new tissue at the same time. This can significantly slow the healing process and make the condition chronic or permanent.!
Severe thrush is also referred to as chronic thrush. There is severe pain and lameness associated with severe thrush with obvious involvement of deep tissue. Severe thrush becomes chronic when it is so deeply rooted that it becomes difficult to eliminate the microbes without harming the surrounding hoof tissue. Repeated attempts to stop these deeply rooted chronic infections with traditional caustic ingredients were shown in the trials not to be very effective against severe thrush.
The best way to treat deeply rooted hoof infections and thrush according to the experts, is to be consistent with your routine hoof maintenance (picking & brushing), and avoid harming sensitive hoof tissue by using caustic products. Caustic agents kill microbes by burning them to death, but they also can harm the tender new hoof tissue trying to establish itself. A normal hoof will grow 3/8” in a month. Thrush is mostly a bacterial infection and they thrive in moist environments that are dark and low in oxygen. The clefts of the frog are the perfect place for the bacteria to hide because they are often packed with muck and urine soaked manure.
Chronic thrush is deeply rooted and is impossible to kill with one application of a strong topical agent. Repeated use of these strong chemicals can be harmful to the surrounding healthy hoof tissue and slow the healing process. Researchers from SBS EQUINE developed a formula that stops bacteria & fungi without harming sensitive surrounding tissue. The formula is not caustic and can be used as often as necessary to keep thrush under control and allow hoof tissue to thrive.
At the conclusion of the field trials, The Horse-Journal said that only one product eliminated the most chronic cases of thrush that nothing else could touch, yet was gentle enough to tender hoof tissue. That product was Thrush Stop by SBS EQUINE. They repeated the tests weeks later on chronic cases and came up with similar results. They also liked the way the product formed a barrier and had a long-lasting effect. The Horse-Journal said, “Thrush Stop is their No. 1 choice for thrush”. They named SBS Thrush Stop “Product of the Year” in 2009.
Regardless of the thrush remedy that is used, the most important steps in dealing with thrush are cleaning and trimming. Removing the diseased tissue and opening up the flaps of the frog by your farrier will give you a head start to recovery. Improperly trimmed hoofs and inadequate cleaning prevent oxygen from getting in crevices. Frequent cleaning can help keep thrush and hoof infections under control.