Ask the Vet – Preventing thrush and other spring time health issues in horses


SARAH: “With this time
of year comes lots of mud and generally wet weather”– big time– “What is the best way
to prevent thrush, Scratches, and other diseases
that come with spring?” Oh boy. DR LYDIA GRAY: Well, I got
a lot of these questions. And I put her’s up for voting,
because it was well-written, and short, and there were
a couple of things covered. Then as I watched it go
up and down, the voting, I realized it was
going to get selected as one of the top
five, so I sent it to Danvers Child, who is
the SmartPak Hoof Health Consultant. And I’m going to
read what he said, because his answer is right on. So, “Providing
regular maintenance and encouraging structural
integrity of the hoof capsule it’s a
primary concern when seeking to avoid
problems associated with wet environments that
we’re experiencing now. In fact, my friend,
Dr. Steven O’Grady”– his friend, well
he’s my friend, too– “says the best tool for treating
thrush is a farriers’ rasp.” I know. “In fact, he’s saying that
regular maintenance will minimize hoof capsule
distortions, flares, which provide pathways
and trappy areas”– and I’m air quoting– “that hold and breed bacteria. Nevertheless,”– he has
a degree in English– “in high moisture seasons,
areas, and climates, it’s necessary to provide
more than regular trimming, especially when we look beyond
thrush and add things like Scratches to our
list of concerns. While it’s impossible to
avoid the increased moisture, we can try to minimize exposure
to muddy areas, tall grasses, sometimes through simple
measures such as altering turn out times to
avoid heavy dew, running the lawn mower
more frequently,”– the brush hog– “or by ensuring
that our water trough’s not overflowing.” Now, in this season, it’s
more like moving the snow so that it doesn’t run
off into the pasture. And we’ve even hand-dug
with shovels ditches. SARAH: Drainage. DR LYDIA GRAY: Exactly. SARAH: I think a lot of people
think about that in the arena, but not in the pasture. And I think it
applies to drainage. DR LYDIA GRAY: Everywhere. Yeah. “Likewise, hosing or washing
can often be minimized, and we pay extra close
attention to keeping boots and wraps clean”–
for the Scratches. “Increased attention
to good clean bedding is another important
consideration, as well as not overbedding with
material that will rapidly wick the moisture away
from the foot, and in turn, cause it to rapidly
draw in new moisture.” It’s that wet, dry, wet
cycle that is particularly unhealthy for feet. “If you can smell ammonia,
you can be certain that both hooves
and skin are going to be negatively affected.” And I would add the airways too. “In addition to working to
control the environment, it’s always a good idea
to use viable maintenance and prevention approaches. And at a base level,
this is simply keeping your horse
fit and healthy in order to promote a
strong immune system.” So, when something tries to
attack the skin or hooves, his immune system says,
no, no, no, I’m good. So, “specifically,
there are a number of products that
can prove helpful in your maintenance program.” And I think we’ve got them here. “The Keratex Hoof
Hardener, for example, helps regulate hoof
moisture levels. Regular treatment of the
frog with disinfectants, such as the character
Keratex Frog Disinfectant can be an effective
preventive approach. And for concerns with Scratches,
Keratex Mud Shield Powder provides an excellent
preventive approach.” So, this was a super answer,
we covered everything.

3 Replies to “Ask the Vet – Preventing thrush and other spring time health issues in horses”

  1. my mate keeps on scratching at her feathers? she doesn't have any mites and I spray them with flee spray to protect bugs and that. She has been biting for a when now and I don't know what to do? I have had a look in them and there is just Alot of dry skin? help!

  2. My mare's feet are getting worn out from jumping 2 times a week. My farrier suggested that we put shoes on her so her hooves won't get worn down. However, my vet suggested that we should give her a hoof supplement to keep them from wearing down. What should I do?

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