April showers bring May flowers! Those April showers also bring lots of wet ground around your barn which can lead to thrush - and that stinks! (Literally). Thrush is a disease of the foot that mainly occurs within the frog and around the edges. When the frog is picked out, a thick, black discharge with a very distinct odor will be found when thrush is found.
Thrush is thought to be caused by a bacterium. It generally does not cause lameness unless it is untreated and very severe. It can cause sensitivity to the frog which can make your horse sore.
Thrush needs a few things to survive - constant moisture, an anaerobic environment and the presence of fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms. To prevent thrush, you can minimize these conditions by doing the following:
Keep stalls and paddocks clean
- Manure and urine give bacteria a place to live. Be sure to clean out stalls and turnouts daily to prevent the bacteria from growing.
- April showers are great for a number of reasons but they also keep your turnouts wet. Bring your horses in the barn to give their hooves a chance to dry out rather than standing in mud and water all day long. You can also spread gravel in wet paddocks to give them a dry place to stand.
Pick out your horse's feet
- Pick out your horses feet daily. This should be done regularly anyway, but especially more often when it is wet outside.
Keep the farrier coming
- Stick to a schedule with your farrier. Regular visits from your farrier will help keep your horse's feet healthy and sound.
Thrush prevention is actually relatively easy to do with good management practices around your farm. Follow these few hints and your horses shouldn't have a problem staying thrush free!
For more information on thrush prevention, CLICK HERE