Thrush

It is one of the most common equine diseases of the hoof - thrush. But what exactly is behind it? 


What is thrush in horses?

Thrush in horses is a bacterial hoof disease. So-called putrefactive bacteria infect the frog, accumulate in the furrows of the frog and decompose it. The frog can be seen on the sole of the horse's hoof: it pushes into the sole in a wedge shape, creating the central and lateral hoof furrows.

Disease progression
  1. Middle beam furrow is infected
  2. Bacteria go on the side beam furrens over
  3. Decomposition of the beam proceeds
  4. Greater substance that is extremely stinking is formed

What are the symptoms of thrush in horses? 
Typical symptoms of thrush are:

  • Dark foul-smelling secretion in the beam furrens
  • deeper furrows than usual
  • Beam acts softly
  • Large shares of the horn are loose and need to be removed
  • More often the hind legs are affected
  • Maybe even the hoof leather skin is free, the horse then shows clear pain and can say this by lame also
  • Rings on the horn wall - these form as the reaction of the hoof to inflammation
Causes of horse disease thrush at a glance:

  • Constantly wet litter in the boxes or hours standing on mudpaddocks
  • Mattress attitude in the box (excellent habitat for bacteria)
  • little movement (this is the hoof worse blood and the nutrient supply is not guaranteed)
  • negligent hoof care
  • false hoof fitting or wrong editing
  • bad horn
  • Anatomically modified hoof z. B. forced

How is thrush treated?

If thrush is detected, the first step should be to reconsider the housing conditions. Regular removal of wet bedding, proper, regular hoof care and mud-free paddocks are the basic prerequisites. Before treating the hoof with various care products, the hoof must be thoroughly cleaned and rotten horn tissue removed, preferably by the farrier or hoof orthopaedist.

After cutting out the hoof, small pieces of cotton wool should be soaked in disinfectant and antibacterial agents and pressed into the frog furrow. The cotton pads should remain in the hoof until the horn is dry. The pressure exerted by the cotton pads on the hoof also promotes horn growth. As a precaution, the hooves can also be strengthened with feed additives such as biotin. A blood sample can be taken to check whether the horse is also suffering from a zinc deficiency and therefore has a poor quality hoof horn.

How long does the treatment last?

The duration of the treatment depends mainly on the extent of the thrush but also on the growth of the affected horn. Even with consistent therapy, it can take several weeks until complete healing is achieved.

In the case of mild thrush or thrush discovered at an early stage, the owner can usually treat it himself. If there is no improvement, however, a veterinarian should be consulted in any case.

Thrush - prevention is better than cure!


This is how you can prevent thrush in horses:

  • Regular hoof care through a hoofry
  • Avoid narrow costumes
  • Keep mattes and pairing
  • Thoroughly remove the wet one day
  • Enough fresh dry litter (possibly a layer chips under straw take the liquid better on)
  • Thoroughly scratch hooves daily
  • Strengthening the immune system
If your horse or pony is diagnosed with thrush, please pay really close attention to the housing conditions or try to consistently adhere to the above points, because no medicine can cure thrush without adjusting the housing conditions.