Three Tips To Keep Horse Hooves Infection Free
When it comes to keeping your horse healthy, hoof care is often a critical element so you can enjoy normal activities together, such as riding or competing. Properly maintained hooves are much less likely to develop bacterial and fungal infections; thus, horses can maintain normal hoof function.
Thrush, a bacterial infection, can be a common problem that resides in the “frog” of a horse’s hoof. The frog refers to the dark colored soft tissue on the bottom side of the foot that is triangular in shape, and stretches from a horse’s heel to midway toward the toe. The bacteria that causes thrush thrives in unsanitary conditions like stalls, where dirt, debris, and bacteria can get trapped in horses’ feet. The preliminary sign of the condition is a strong odor coming from the hoof.
Three Steps to Healthier Hooves
There are several tips and strategies to manage and prevent thrush. Keeping the hoof and frog clean and free of bacteria is important, and this can be challenging in a barn environment that is often wet and full of bacteria. Certified Journeyman Farrier Tab Pigg recommends these three tips:
1. Clean the hooves daily with a hoof pick and clean wire brush; the pick removes the bulk and the wire brush removes residue.
2. Trim hooves on a regular schedule. Feet that go untrimmed longer than seven or eight weeks develop thin soles and a stretched white line, making it easier for bacteria to enter the hoof capsule.
3. Ask a farrier to use pour-in pads that adhere to the bottom of the foot to seal out moisture and debris. Pour-in pads are liquid urethane adhesives that provide durable, shock-absorbent support within the hoof capsule. This provides additional support for horses. Vettec Equi-Pak CS can be applied to the bottom of the horse’s foot to eliminate the possibility of bacteria being trapped and causing an infection. Equi-Pak CS is a fast-setting, soft pad material infused with copper sulfate to effectively manage moderate cases of thrush. It provides extra protection and support and also bonds to the sole, eliminating the need to pick out the feet and apply daily medication. Pour-in pads also offer these advantages:
• The adhesive immediately bonds to the sole, sealing out moisture and debris.
• Pour-in pad material can be filled to ground level for maximum support and effectively absorbs concussion, instead of sending it up the leg.
• A pour-in pad supports the bony column of the leg by loading the entire hoof area and it positions
the weight-bearing load over the entire ground surface and not just the hoof wall.
Ask your farrier about if your horse is at risk for thrush and which pour-in pad materials are best for your horse.