Thrush in horse hooves

Thrush in horse hooves image of horses hooves

Learn more about thrush in horse hooves in our article here.

Hoof problems in horses can be a worry for horse owners. Whether it be a crack, infection or ongoing debilitating disease, ultimately, we find ourselves turning to the internet to learn more about conditions affecting our horses.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘no hoof, no horse’, right?! Maintaining healthy hooves doesn’t have to be a difficult job unless your horse is predisposed to conditions such as cracks and other problems. Ongoing care and maintenance is often all that’s needed to keep your horse happy and healthy.

In this article, you can learn more about thrush in horse hooves, including cause, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

What causes thrush in hooves?

Thrush in horse hooves is caused by a bacterial infection or fungal organisms. Bacterial infection is more common, with the species Fusobacterium necrophorum predominantly responsible for the condition.

Continuous exposure to a damp environment without sufficient care and attention to the feet, such as poor stable management, wet or damp bedding, and wet, muddy fields leaves your horse susceptible to the condition.

As a bacterial infection, if thrush is left untreated, it can destroy the frog and can move to the sensitive, internal structures in the hoof.

We found this following video as an excellent resource for understanding more on the condition.

Symptoms of thrush in horses hooves

There are a number of symptoms which may be present when you suspect your horse has a problem with thrush. These include:

  • Black colouration to the frog and sole
  • Discharge with a foul smell
  • Soft, flaky soles
  • Necrotic areas of the frog
  • Heat present on the sole of the hoof
  • Pain on applying pressure
  • Swelling of the lower limb (occasionally)

Some or all of these symptoms may be present. IF this is the case, consult with you vet and/or farrier for what to do next.

Treatment for thrush horses hooves

Treatment for thrush in hooves includes the trimming of necrotic areas of the frog, which should be done by a farrier or vet. Scrub the underside of the hoof daily with an iodine solution, or a hibiscrub. You can also use a syringe (of the wash of choice) to target the deeper areas. Once the hoof is clean, you can apply eucalyptus oil (available from most chemists) repeatedly along the grooves of the frog until the thrush goes away.

Other treatments such as soaking the hoof (if the horse allows) for 20 minutes in a warm Epsom Salts bath can also help draw out any infection. Always ask the vet and/or farrier for recommendations on treatment.

Prevention of thrush in horses hooves

To prevent thrush, keep the horse’s hooves clean, scrub them out and apply eucalyptus oil at least once a week during the winter, and when necessary in the summer. Make sure that there is a dry area in the field, for example hard standing, if the horse is out all the time. Make sure bedding is kept fresh, dry and clean.

As a good rule of thumb, picking out hooves should be done when entering and leaving the stable.

A long hoof may provide ideal conditions for thrush to thrive due to the deeper grooves found in the centre and around the edge of the frog. Typically, the farrier will remove excess frog matter to help prevent a deep channel from developing during a routine trim. Therefore, keeping on top appointments with your farrier will ultimately promote healthier hoof conditions.


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Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse Ba Hons Marketing Management email:

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