Fungal Infections

Picture Above: Notice how deep the hoof pick penetrates the central sulcus. This crevice is not suppose to be there and is caused the lack of ground contact and fungal infection.

I feel, along with some other farriers, that here on the Eastern Shore our biggest problem in hoof care is fungus. I can’t say for sure why fungus is such a problem.

The fact that we are on a peninsula and the moisture content in our soil is high, is part of it, but again, I can’t say for sure. I am told that in Louisiana they have the same issues. I can say that over the years I have worked with horses that have come in from other parts of the country either through private sales, auctions, or dealers and have not seen the infection I have seen in horses that have lived in this environment for any length of time.

For whatever reason our horses feet are subject to infection and therefore deterioration of parts of the hoof.  A major part of my program is getting rid of this fungus.

These microbes eat away at the foot and can cause deterioration and soreness. Most of the damage occurs in the frog area toward the back in the central sulcus area. This soreness causes a horse to land toe first on the impact phase of the stride. This toe first landing causes a number of issues that are discussed in the article titled, Toe First Landing.

Below are the treatments I prefer to use. I prefer these for the simple reason that they do not kill live tissue like most over the counter remedies.

Remember, our objective is not only to kill the microbes but to also grow new tissue.

The trick to fighting this or any infection is the continued treatment until infection is completely gone. Even then if the crevice has not grown out completely infection may re-occur because the crevice creates a warm, dark, moist area where bacteria, fungus, and yeast thrive.

Another important part of treatment is the horses living conditions. If they are walking around on or in a bacteria infested environment then your attempts to bring thrush under control may very well not work.

Rubber mats are notorious for harboring bacteria. They are very porous and can hold a tremendous amount of bacteria. To combat that mix 50/50 bleach and water and pour it on your mats and leave till dry.

Treatment for deep frog infection in the Central Sulcus.
Mix Betadine (5 or 7%) and table sugar till the mixture thickens up and you have approximately a quarter cup. Crush up an SMZ and add to the mix and stir. Dip a piece of gauze into the mixture. Clean out the central sulcus (be careful it could be very sore) and put the saturated gauze as deep as it will go into the infected area. Leave in there for two days then replace. Keep doing this until the crevice disappears. This mix is very effective but you must continue use until the crevice is completely gone or the infection will re-establish itself very quickly.

Anti-fungal Soak……Treatment for ridding infection throughout entire hoof. A mix of 50% water and 50% apple cider vinegar and use it to soak the horses foot for 20 to 30 minutes twice a week until gone.

WSC-90……This treatment is a one time treatment that is extremely effective. One thing though, people seem to think they can use this and forget about it. If your horse has the deep crevice in the back of the frog, infection can come back quickly. WSC-90 will get you a good start but it is up to you to maintain treatment until the crevice is grown out and the fungus no longer has a dark, warm, moist, area to re-establish. 

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