Top tips for dealing with thrushy hooves

Thanks to the near constant drizzle rain that we have had for the last week the ground in the paddocks has suddenly transformed into muddy sludge, and since Vallu's new favourite party trick is to stand and hang around his gate his hooves are in a state of near permanent dampness in which the bacteria/fungus that causes thrush thrives in. Hello autumn, hello thrush...

In my attempt to help Vallu's frogs as much possible and to try to stop them getting any worse I've ended up trying several different products, and spending a ridiculous amount of time online trying to find recommendations and suggestions of what to do and what to use. I was not surprised to find a gazillion products to choose from, but I was a little bit mystified as to why there were only a few blog posts with recommendations... So here are the products that I can recommend to anyone looking for something to use to treat thrushy feet.

As you might know, equine thrush is caused by an anaerobic bacteria that is trapped in the moist, deep crevices of the hoof that eats away at the horse's tissue, particularly the frog and sulcus area. Obviously, the first thing to do is to make sure that the horse's bed is as clean and dry as possible. Vallu gets a load of a clean straw everyday in his bed where he normally stands so that it is as clean as can be. Clean the hoof before using any products! Whether you want to use hibiscrub and give it a good scrub or use your hose pipe and put the sprayer on jet to get all of the gunk deep in the cracks in the frog. I'm a big believer in cleaning the frog/hoof with a small hard brush and a load of Hibiscrub. Then let the hoof dry!! This was my biggest mistake, not letting them dry properly before using any products.
The first product that I bought was Nettex's Frog Health because it was recommended by a lady at our yard. Frog Health has "powerful bactericides and fungicides that help dry and reduce discharge from the frog." It's super easy to use and does not make a mess. The liquid spray makes me feel like it goes right into the crevices and cracks so that it works both from the outside and the inside. This bottle (250ml) has lasted for just over two weeks of being sprayed on before and after turn out so for just under ten pounds, not bad at all.
Hibiscrub, the little brush and Villate for thrush
The latest product that has been added to my lotions and potions group is Veredus' Villate.
"Villate is the liquid that prevents from frog putrefaction. Thanks to the cleansing components ideal for impregnating the frog. Regular use improves the quality of the hoof horn and provides optimal hygienic conditions." This stuff smells a bit like bleaching products, which got me worried that it would be too strong to use and could damage the healthy parts of the frog, but I was assured that it wouldn't by a friend who uses it. After cleaning the hoof and frog and letting it dry, you then pour this product over the frog making sure that it goes into all of the cracks and crevices. Again, the liquid consistency means that it should be working on the thrush from both the outside and inside. Let it dry in a clean place (wash box for me) before putting the horse back in the stable.

Within the last few days there has been a definite improvement in Vallu's frogs. I think this will be something that I will have to be doing for all of winter, but as long as I have products that I know that work, I'm more than happy to do daily scrubbing and cleaning.

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