Shedding Frogs / Thrush / Hoof Care
I'm currently 1/2 leasing a pony, and she's boarded somewhere in a large pen (grass, with a dirt section) and it's dry - the drainage is really good.
For a while she was quite thrushy, but my leaser and I went and bought her that coppertox stuff (not the exact brand, but same deal - it's green and helps with thrush and fungal infections of the foot) and applied it daily - every second day. Her thrush cleared up, and a farrier came out to trim her feet. (I've seen some farriers do some pretty bad things to horses and their feet, so I made sure I was there when he trimmed to watch, and discuss the thrush to make sure that her feet were totally healthy again. He said she has good feet, but I should continue to apply the thrush ointment, which I did).
I just went on holidays, and the thrush had started to come back before I left - so my leaser put on the coppertox stuff while I was away. Today we both went out together, and the pony is shedding ...3 of her frogs I think, and is slightly thrushy. I'm quite sure she isn't foundering, but her foot is warm around the frog area and she is obviously sore. (Especially when I touch her foot and press on the frog lightly). I lunged her out for a few minutes to see how she was moving - and she's not showing the soreness very much in her movement - but you can see it slightly.
Does anybody have any experience with horses losing their frogs / having them peel or shed? or Thrush?
I'm thinking the ointment we've been using isn't enough, and I'd like to stop the problem before it gets worse. Any feedback, questions, suggestions etc. would be greatly valued. I don't want to do more than lunge her lightly until her feet are no longer sore.
I've been doing some research too and one website said
Quote:Arrows point at "shedding" frog which is actually a fungus infection. After several soaks with laundry borax, the frog will quickly grow in plumper, and will push the heels farther apart; the heels might spread 1/2 to 3/4 inch (13 - 20 mm) within a month or two.
from http://www.barefoothorse.com/barefoot_PhotoGallery 2.html
has anybody heard of this ?
Not all shedding frogs are from fungal infections, per se.
First, applying thrush-X or Coppertox all the time is bad for the feet. It's designed to kill thrush, yes, but only be used to clear it up. It also kills healthy cells, making it unsuitable for daily preventative use.They are also excessivly drying and toxic.
Once your farrier determined that the thrush was clear, he should stop trimming the frog and you could try using a 50-50 mix of water and apple cider vinegar (found in the cooking aisle of your grocery store-and it's cheap) Spray it on the frog daily. It's non-toxic in fact it's edible, but the acid in the vinegar changes the PH in the hoof enough to inhibit thrush.
Frogs will slough off in wet seasons, sometimes due to infection related causes, sometimes due to not enough wear in soft mud to shed it slowly, so the frog lets go of the dead material all at once.Some horses do it once a year, some twice. Most farriers just trim it so short it never has a chance to follow this natural cycle. And trimming the frog, by the way, can make it more prone to thrush infections.
Frog sloughing, in itself, could just be her feet gettting rid of the nasty material in the foot, like shedding a scab. Hard to say without actually seeing the feet for myself, I'm just naming potential causes. But the foot may be a tad tender, even if it's not infected. This would be like removing dead skin on you hand..the new, healthy skin is still tender for a while, but will toughen up just fine.
If you are noticing a putrid smell, there could be abscesses, espeically with the heat you mentioned. Could be metabolic, or perhaps she does have some mild laminitis. But don't expect rosy smelling feet. They get poop in them, so not all odors are indicative of infection. However, a strong rotten smell accompanied by tarry discharge or pus, blood or even watery junk are signs of infections. Fungal infection of the frog tends to make it shrivel up, get a "butt crack" appearance in the center cleft of the frog and you will see a lot of white, powdery looking junk when little flaps on the frog peel up and back. If you stick a hoof pick in that crevice they will flinch, but not so in a healthy foot.
Borax soaks, while I can't say they don't work, I'm just not as big of a fan of them. I see decent results with ACV(vinegar) and water or if it's abscesses, Epsom salts soaks. Still the borax is better than coppertox type remedies.
Oh, and if you hear any suggestions of use of bleach-DON'T. Its' bad for hooves especially for regular use. It's drying, it's harmful to healthy hoof tissues and can make the hoof weaker.
One more afterthought.
The frog won't "get plumper" because of the Borax,( from the website you found.) Its the combination of good trims, eliminating the thrush and exercise that gets a frog to fill out. Trimming the frog routinely obviously would keep it from getting wider, and exercise benfits the whole foot. With a proper trim, the back of the foot is allowed to funciton and like a muscle (though it is NOT a muscle) it gets larger with use, shrivels from lack of.
If a foot is tender from thrush, the back isn't used, the cycle of withering is set up. But a properly trimmed, disease free foot will be used in a way that promotes expansion-which makes it less prone to thrush..a GOOD cycle of foot health, regardless of what treatment made the thrush go away in the first place.
the apple cider vinegar mix that barefoot suggested really works :D and its way cheaper and safer than any thrush medicine.
I've been lunging her to bring circulation to the foot (I bring her in first, pick the foot, and spray it with the water/ACV mix) .. then I do sea salt soaks with tea tree oil (10 minutes per foot) and apply coppertox afterwards.
Yesterday was the first REAL soak I did because she finally stood in the feet tubs I'm using. The heat was gone when I brought her in yesterday, which is a good sign.
It's been very rainy, so I've been applying the coppertox daily - but when it's dry, I plan to use ACV.
Should I change anything?
Bleach has been suggested to me, but I've also been told to stay clear of it.
Also, the soles of her feet are a lighter color after I clean them out completely. Her hooves are all black in color, but the soles of 3 are a light color, and one is a bit of a darker black color - but none smell or are gooey.
Hoof sole and wall can have different pigmentation, just like skin, so that doesn't mean much, really. In fact, sometimes it tricks people to think they see a bruise and there's just a black pigment spot. LOL
Don't use the coppertox just cause it's raining. It's drying in all the wrong ways. Using it as directed untl the thrush is gone, is fine, but rain itself doesn't mean thrush. Just keep up the ACV, pick the mud/poo out daily or twice daily if you can manage to let some air circulate.
are you a farrier, barefoothooves ?
Do you think the soaks I'm doing will help with circulation and the thrush?
It's not that she's so much thrushy anymore, it's just that she's sore from it and from her frogs shedding - maybe minor thrush, but it's setting her back. It's not the black-goo thrush. Should I stop with the coppertox and just stick to ACV? and only switch back if it gets worse ?
Am I a farrier? Technically not anymore, I'm a professional "trimmer" now . I don't shoe anymore, just natural trims. :)
I would just spray on (from a regular spray bottle) the ACV after you pick out her feet. Soaks won't make the thrush worse, but will keep her extra moist (see below) With no actual tarry dishcarge, she's likely tender from the shedding frogs combined with lots of moisture. Loosing that top layer of frog is like trimming off callouses on your foot. It's healthy skin underneath, but if you wear soggy tennnis shoes in combo with that, your feet will be tender.
Is she in a stall or has a shed to get into with some dry ground? Just a chance to dry out helps a lot. Excess moisture can make some horses tender, even with otherwise healthy feet. Hooves get soft in the rain, rocks don't. So just keep picking out mud, spray on the ACV around the frogs and give her a chance to dry out every day. See if that helps.
Sounds good, thanks :)
She lives outside but her pasture is pretty dry. They have really great drainage.
I'll keep you updated as to if she gets better or worse
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