Monday, February 23, 2009

Trimming Challenge: Deep Sulcus Thrush #1 Enemy of Heel-First Landing

(note:  this picture is of Red's hoof after his last farrier trim in August, 2007.  You see the flat, pathological form of a "pasture trim".  This is NOT a healthy hoof capsule and is NOT the results of any style of "barefoot trim"!)

I used to wonder why Red's frogs were so thin and sort of tattered looking.  I cleaned them every day.  There was none of that black gooey, stinky gunk that I remember meant it was time to treat for thrush.  I asked my farrier - he said he didn't see anything like thrush.  I asked my vet - she said she didn't see any thrush.  Still, something just wasn't right.  Then on a barefoot trimming website,  I saw  a frog that looked exactly like Red's frogs.  It was illustrating a discussion on deep sulcus thrush.  HA!  I knew it!  (If your horse's hoofs look ANYTHING like Red's in this photo from Aug. 2007, you have LOTS of troubles in addition to thrush, these pictures are what inspired me to learn to trim myself).

If your horse is having a hard time with transition,
has contracted heels that just don't want to open, continues to resist heel-first landings no matter what you do, chances are that you have a nasty case of deep sulcus thrush to deal with.  

There are some outstanding online articles that will help you find the most helpful form of treatment for your horse.  I have found white lightening, "Pete's Goo" (a 50/50 mix of antifungal cream with 1% clotrimazole and triple antibiotic - both available at Dollar Tree Stores), and apple cidar vinegar soaks to be very helpful for Red.  Here are some resources that I have found helpful:

  1. Linda Cowles at Healthy Hoof (extremely comprehensive)
  2. Ove Lund at the Swedish Hoof School
  3. Pete Ramey: Caring for the Frog
Once you settle on a treatment program, BE VIGILANT!!!!!!  While it is important to utilize a trim that engages the frog, if the frog has hidden thrush your horse will only grow more heel to keep away from the pain.  Here is a thread on the Whole Horse Health Forum discussing the management of thrush and bringing down the heels.

Good luck!


Mrs Sarah Bell said...

What an outstanding page you have written.
Very simple but very clearly written and well explained with excellent pictures. We have had one horse here which has shown similiar signs in his hooves, heels too long etc etc. Well done a great article, you say it exactly as it is!

Sarah Bell (UK)

Leslie Lim said...

It is great to have the opportunity to read a good quality article with useful information on topics that plenty are interested on.