Friday, July 8, 2011

Thrush update

It's been a while since I've posted pictures but it's been a while since I felt like their frogs were post-worthy. If you recall I first was alerted to Coriander's ridiculously awful thrush infection last November and I've been treating him for it ever since. At the same time Gwen was also afflicted. We've had some ups and downs and a whole lot more learnin' on my part about foot health, nutrition, and thrush remedies since then.

These photos are from yesterday. Yeah, the trim looks not so great- I've still got a bunch to learn about how to use my tools (I'm going to trimming school in August, YAY!)- but my horses are sound and soundness is more important than looks. You can see that Coriander has still been landing toe first and has been pulling the front of his feet forward. It's been driving me crazy. I'd pull his toe back and he'd just pull it forward again by slamming down toe first. Finally, *finally*, as his frogs have come in he's started to land heel first most of the time.

Coriander's left fore- the clubbed one

Coriander's right fore
If it looks like his heels are high keep in mind that his frogs are still growing in, making it look like his heels are taller than they are. Though I do have an interesting (shameful) story about how I learned why Coriander has a club foot. I had been easing the heels on that club foot down the to same height as the heels on his right fore. Well guess what? When I finally got the heels down to the same height he went lame. I happened to be perusing the internet looking for something else when I found a farrier who talked about assessing the horse's entire body balance for soundness. He specifically mentioned looking at how the knees lined up. I went out and looked at Coriander's knees and - Lo And Behold!- his left knee was a 1/4 inch lower than his right knee. Whoops! I guess his left foot is clubbed because his left leg is shorter. Good to know.

And here are Gwen's feet. Note that she still has a crack down the middle of her frog. Her frogs don't look as good as Coriander's for one reason: He'll let me soak his feet and she won't. For that reason I've had to change my treatment tactics. I got a spray bottle, filled it with a 40:60 oxine to water ratio, and started spraying their frogs with that every day to every other day. I started doing that three weeks ago and can already see improvement. The crack between her heels is starting to fill in nicely. Other interesting things are starting to happen as a result of the spraying too- like the ditch around Coriander's left fore frog. It seems the tip of that frog wasn't healthy so now it's gone. Fascinating.

Gwen's right fore

Gwen's left fore
I want to note that even though her frogs still look thrushy she's sounder than her brother, a true rock cruncher. For a while I didn't understand why until I took a closer look at the back of their feet. Take a look at how much more robust the back of her foot, or the digital cushion, looks compared to Coriander's. I don't know if she got more exercise when she was a baby than he did or if there's a genetic factor going on but the difference is huge. Either way, I've got my fingers crossed that someday the back of his feet will look that robust.

Something else I want to add about thrush:

I trimmed my client horse this week and was dismayed to hear the owner tell me she'd stopped treating his thrush "since it's been dry." Um no. Whether it's wet or dry doesn't really make a difference. If your horse has thrush you need to treat it until it's gone. Period. That might take months but you have to persevere and keep after it despite the environmental conditions. I also told her she needs to get him on a mineral supplement to assist his grass diet. There simply aren't enough minerals in the forage around here to produce healthy hooves. I've come to learn that when it comes to thrush, what goes in the horse's mouth is just as, if not more, important as what you put on their feet.


  1. Thrush is miserable to deal with but it looks like you've got it well under control.

  2. Miserable is an understatement, but yeah, I think I've got it under my thumb now :)

  3. If I'd known about oxine before, I would've bought a bottle to spray on one of my teenagers! We fought a yeast infection on his shoulder for years--yes, years. Initially started from football pads. Dr. explained that it wasn't the gross pads, it was the constant chafing that allowed it to get started. Some of these infections seem to be really hard for the body to recognize as a threat for some reason.

    And this is a kid who showers ever day, sleeps in a clean bed, wears clean clothes, sat out in the sun without a shirt on, etc. Our horses' feet are out in the dirt 24/7! Kind of surprising we don't see more hoof issues.

    And thanks for posting that about the knee height issue...I'm wondering if that might be a problem my old mare has been having.

  4. Dee has one foot that is "clubby" so I've done quite a bit of reading on the subject. One thing is that although it may appear so, horses having one leg truly shorter than the other are unusual, but because of the way the shoulder attaches...or rather doesn't the body, things can shift around quite a bit to make one limb appear shorter. Also a foot may appear to be a club foot but really just be a case of overgrown and contracted heels (x-rays required to be certain). The whole scenario, from the shape of the foot growth, to the appearance of one leg being longer than the other, are often a result of some sort of injury or pain that cause the horse to compensate for an extended period of time. Sore heels brought on by thrush could be such a cause. The thing is, once they get crooked, even when the problem that caused it is gone, it can be rediculously hard to fix. I wrote a post about this a while back: Life, Love, and the Asymmetrical Horse. At the bottom of my rambling are a few good articles. Of course, there are real club feet etc, but even if Coriander falls into that category the articles are excellent reading, even if most of them recommend shoeing as a fix. Check this one, too: equinebiomkanix for the really interesting photos (posts about the grey horse, Rashid).

  5. So interesting to see your horses' feet, they are completely different from Minnie and Cassie's feet. I am still on a steep learning curve with regards to barefoot and trimming, so I have no idea why that is. What kind of ground are Coriander and Gwen on?

  6. Fetlock- oxine is amazing. It kills all the baddies and yet is safe to drink. I would recommend that everyone keep some on hand, even if their son is no longer plagued by an ucky shoulder ;)

    Story thanks for the links, the shoeing job on Rashid was interesting. I know what you're talking about with the body asymmetry- and that might be his issue- but the fact that his sister's left fore is also clubbed makes me suspicious that it's the real deal. When I took those heels down I suddenly felt like I was always sliding off to the left whenever I rode. I let the heels grow out and he felt square again (and takes both canter leads easily). I'm not ruling out that the issue might be in his shoulder but I'm going to keep him comfortable in the best way I can for now. I've been debating getting a chiro out though...

    twohorses I'm still on a learning curve too. I think people who go barefoot and trim themselves are on a learning curve forever. Right now they're walking around on packed dirt but they spent all spring wandering around in soggy grass and mud. They have crazy amounts of concavity going on.

  7. Thanks for the interesting foot photos.

    Are you going to pursue a career in barefoot trimming?

  8. With his sister having a club foot and with your other observations it definitely sounds like you're right about Coriander. That's really interesting how you could feel the results of trying to correct the heels when you rode. With Dee she exhibits the full chain of alignment issues that come from her high foot. Still working on fixing it. We have a new farrier who has seen her once now but I haven't been able to talk to him myself. I wish I had the confidence to maintain her fronts, at least between trims. Going to trimming school would be super cool!

  9. Interesting thoughts...sounds like you know what you're doing! Do you see a big difference after supplements are added to the diets? Less chipping? More and faster hoof growth?

  10. Very awesome post and excellent work.
    Though ive not had the hush problem with mine, that product does sound great to have. I've one called BANIX ive been spraying under the EASY WALKERS every other day ie so.

    Had amrhwr barefoot trimmer come yesterday to fit for Renegade hoof boots. Her knowledge was.amazing.

    I always learn so much here, thanks and keep up the good work.
    Near o on the trimming school!

  11. My guy is barefoot too, but I don't know the first thing about trimming. Thanks for sharing :)

    Here is a link for proper use of Oxine - a good treatment for many hoof / foot issues :)

  12. Hi Val- I've considered it but logistically it wouldn't work. I'd have to have quite a few clients that I'm not sure I could get and then there's the injury factor. Probably not happening.

    Hi Linda- nutrition makes a huge difference! Their hooves are growing faster and the laminae connection is nice and tight. Chipping is a different matter, chipping of any hoofwall that extends beyond the sole is natural and is also called self trimming.

    Kacy I've tried Banixx, it didn't work quite as well. They also have the worst spray bottles, darn things don't work half the time (grrr). I'm interested in reading about your findings on the Renegades!

    CFS- Thanks for the link. Using citric acid to "activate" the oxine is a good idea and gives it an extra punch to kill the bad stuff but you can use the oxine without it (my oxine came with a tub of citric acid that I use if I'm doing a soak). One problem with the citric acid is that the reaction is short lived, the oxine/water combo is helpful because I can leave it sitting around for a few days and it still works.

  13. Shannon - I am having a bit of a panic attack! Gem's feet have been terrible lately. Can I send you an email and get some feedback???