Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blue Mondays and Kopertox green

First off, let me start by saying I was hoping to get this finished and posted yesterday. Can you tell by the title? We all see how well that went!

New Horse Mommy was asking about thrush recently. Since we did get a bit of rain over the weekend and our one small arena is still a mess of squishy sludge from the last downpour, this is as good a time as any to talk about it. Cattypex, I am going to do a post on saddle fit and use pictures of our own horses. It may have to wait until this weekend though... I have Not forgotten about it. Another poster just had a clinic here locally last weekend about that very thing.

With things like thrush, the best way to deal with it is to prevent it if you can. While this is not always easy to do and Mother Nature doesn't always help, we all do what we can and hope for the best. Even still it does occur in a lot of barns, so don't feel like a loser or incompetent if your horse gets it. It's not a death sentence, just another thing to learn about and deal with on your journey down the path of learning...

The simplest of things to do is cleaning your horses hooves out daily and having them trimmed regularly as needed. Cleaning the hooves helps to get all the gunk (dirt, manure, small rocks) out of the cleft of the hoof and lets the air in to help dry it out. It gives you a chance to see if there are any rocks in there causing bruising, remove foreign objects such as nails or glass and check on the hoof to see how it is doing. Regular hoof care is a way for a farrier or hoof trimming specialist (whichever you use) to remove the excess, rebalance the hoof and help you find things such as thrush.

This can be a great time of learning for everyone involved. An owner interested in doing more for their horse can step up and ask questions and the farrier can offer advice and information. Or you may both learn things about the other person, like- the farrier doesn't want to be bothered to teach you or the owner may be a person who throws money at things and expects others to fix it all. All four kinds of people exist in the horse industry. Those who want to learn, those who are willing to teach, those who harbor their knowledge and those who can't be bothered.

Just like everything else horse related, there is a number of products on the market, home made remedies and everything in between. Things people hold to as tried and true, works every time on every horse and another list of home made concoctions that others swear by the light of day will ward off anything and everything evil.

The basic findings are that thrush is either a fungus or bacteria, it hasn't been determined yet which. It thrives in conditions of constant moisture and little air circulation. It can be found in the barns of the best bred horses as well as the back yards of low end breeders. Thrush does not care who owns the horse it affects, it just gets in there are whoOoa the smell! ICK!

While not all mud is considered bad, for some horses it can bring on a bout of thrush and get things rolling downhill. This is where Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate. A steady pounding of rain and stall flooding on top of the thrush being present, doesn't make for happy horse owners. Mud with a lot of manure in it as well as under ponds of urine will certainly be a breeding ground of sorts for a lot of issues. If possible trench everything to allow for drainage as best you can. Move the horse to a stall or pen where they are out of the mud or have a dry place to stand. This is why the planning stages way back when, were so important when deciding where to put the barn.

But horses can also develop thrush in a stall or smaller pen too. If the manure piles up, the horse has nowhere to go to get out of it. Some horses urinate a lot and soak the bedding in their stall. This again leaves them nowhere to go to get out of it. Daily hoof cleaning is important, giving those hooves a chance to breathe and getting the horse out to exercise also allows the hoof to breathe as well as moving over the dry (or at least drier) footing of an arena or work area.

Soaking a hoof in apple cider vinegar is recommended by a lot of people as a way of drawing out and sanitizing abscessed hooves, but it also works wonders on the thrush because it gets into those places you just can't. Other folks may recommend using a bleach solution, Listerine, hydrogen peroxide and a number of other disinfectants, antibacterials or anti fungal remedies. This is to reduce the presence of the fungus or bacteria causing the thrush. Keep the hairline and coronet band in mind when soaking the hoof as some horses have sensitive skin. The last thing you want to do is cause another issue while trying to resolve the first one.

A squirt of Kopertox, made by Fort Dodge can do wonders, but the stuff stains whatever it comes into contact with and in my opinion smells just about as bad as the thrush does. In reading the label it states not to get it on the horses leg as it can cause hair loss, avoid breathing the fumes, it is combustible and I found this part a bit unappealing-
"NOTE: KOPERTOX is easily removed from hands, clothing and surfaces with light grade fuel oil or any type of lighter fluid."

Both Kopertox and Thrush-XX from Farnam contain the same amount of Copper naphthenate - 37.5% as their main ingredient. Absorbine offers Hooflex Thrush Remedy which is stated not to stain, sting or dry out the hoof. I could not find a listing of the ingredients or I would gladly put them up.

There are a number of gels, ointments, salves, hoof packing materials, boots and ways of treating thrush as you can dare to think of or care to look up online. When it comes down to it though, the hoof has to be cleaned out and the fungus or bacteria removed. Soaking, packing, booting and moving the horse to a dry pen or higher ground are all things the average owner can do to ward it off. If you are having no luck and the thrush persists, then it is time to get the vet, farrier or both involved and let them do what needs to be done or try something else.

NHM, I hope this helped. Where every situation is different though, it is tough to address the issues and surrounding particulars for each specific horse.


  1. Koppertox is MESSY stuff! I prefer cleaning the hoof really good, spraying on a 1-part bleach/ 3-part water solution and keeping the horse in as dry of footing as possible. If you do this as soon as you smell the evidence of thrush, it usually does the trick.

  2. Gotta love a product that recomends cleaning your skin with gas ! We use Koppertox around here for hoof rot in cattle ,same premise I suppose

  3. mindlessly musing here, as I try to sleep through the snoring, which is not going well..

    Would "pickled sand" be effective?
    Do horses worked in sand/sandy soils develop thrush as easily as the horses who live on "heavier" dirt?

    oh, oh, my coherence tremblor is broken. I better just get some sleep.

    To Healthy Froggies!

  4. Most thrush remedies (including watered down bleach) kill the bacteria/thrush, but also destroy healthy hoof tissue. Here are some options for killing thrush that will NOT harm hoof tissue --
    1.)Yup, I have heard that apple cider vinegar soaks are good, but I have heard it should be 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water.
    2.) For thrush deep in the central sulcus of the frog, mix 50% triple antibiotic and 50% athlete's foot cream, put it into a small-tip syringe, and put the tip of the syringe deep into the cleft to inject the solution.
    3.) White Lightning -- I feel like a salesperson, but this stuff is the BEST at clearing up thrush, abscesses, and White Line Disease. I will never be without it. It's a bit of a process, but definitely worth it.
    4.)Mixture of 1/3 Lysol 4-in-1 cleanser and 2/3 water -- spray this on feet daily to treat and prevent thrush, WLD, etc.
    Also keep in mind that movement is essential for foot health, so the more your horse moves, the faster the thrush will clear up

  5. FV- yep, same sorta issue and yep, lovin something that takes stronger chemicals to remove... not so much. :(

    Frizzle- glad to see new posters around here, always a good thing! ACV is a form of acid, so yes it is good to dilute it for a soaking. One of the reasons it cleans out the thrush and is recommended for the abcesses to Kill the gunk! and sanitize everything.

    GL- Pickled sand? Care to elaborate and hopefully inform? I haven't ever heard of it. What is that?

    As for the sandy footing vs. heavier dirt goes, that's where things get intriguing and intricate in a balancing act of sorts.

    The sandy footing tends to dry out much quicker. Paired with a good base underneath it and an area with drainage- it really dries out much quicker! The dry area to work allows the hoof a dry place to land during work. Movement as Frizzle said, aids in the circulation in the hoof, so that is another good reason to get them out and moving.

    Mud can also be beneficial in some cases. People used to use mud packs on wounds to draw out toxins and it is still used in some spa treatments. Also a lot of the folks trying to keep their horses in a somewhat natural enviornment will provide a mud hole around the water trough for the hooves to soak as the horse drinks. This also allows the horses to go stand in the mud for long periods of time at their will.

    But a horse who is stuck in a stall filled with manure or wet bedding or turned out in a dry lot with little or no drainage after a downpouring rain like many of us have recently seen- thrush may soon become an issue for them, as well as 'scratches' and rain rot.

    Our own horses stood out in the rain for part of the storm, but if it got too wet to feed them out there or they appeared cold from the rain they were brought in. The one arena is still sludgy and thick as well as slick, so it will take some time to get it back in useable condition. We are also set up for flood irrigation so things are sorta designed not to drain and run off so quickly. Three of the four other turnouts are useable. The fourth one may be back in use today or tomorrow. Hooray, because they can sure use it!

  6. Salt + Sand. I do not know the ratio.

    Husband used to use it on the gravel driveway, in the winter, after plowing...

    I just wonder...

  7. Thanks! This did help. I would have responded sooner, but have been deathly ill with some kind of flu. My temperature was at 104 for 24 hours and I rarely have a fever! I had to go to the grocery store (at its peak) for medicine, and seriously considered lying down on the nice cold floor and letting them call an ambulance for me!

    I think Thrushbuster is working the best. I just need to apply it every day or every other day, rather than once weekly as the bottle says to do. I think I will go with ACV (1:1 with water) on the other days. I tried the Absorbine. It has the consistency of olive oil and did not seem to do much.

    My farrier recommended the water/bleach solution, but my vet did not agree and I could tell it was hurting him when applied (even at 10:1).

    I wish I had moved him sooner. He got it at the other place after the first big rain. There is some mud in his new paddock, but it's in a pretty limited area, and soil is very sandy, so it does not pack in like other soils do.

    He has a run-in at the new place, which might as well be a stall, and he is fed in there, but he does not seem to like to be in there otherwise. I don't think he has ever been stalled. He runs out every time he hears a noise.

    I was putting shavings down for him, but he decided they were for urinating on and nothing else. He won't pee in there without the shavings, so now it's dry.

    I am just ready for the rain to stop!

  8. Koppertox: it helps if you put it in a little container & apply with a brush.

    Thrush smells like dirty litter box to me. YUK.

    Between snow melt and heavy clay soil, there's always standing water around here (East Central IN) in the winter and spring. (Farmers have to tile their fields.) It's just a MESS. Now, of course, we are dealing with a ton of snow and chunks of ice all over. We are getting another 7" today - I'm getting ready to leave now as a matter of fact.

    I can't get to the barn every day, which suuuuucks, because their road keeps drifting shut, and my fun little car just can't cut it. At least I know Chip is fuzzy warm, fed & socialized, though I can't pick out his feet every day, or even every OTHER day. *grumble* And with his white feet, he does seem slightly more prone to thrush, though it clears up easily with just one application of green shit. I've only had to do it twice since November, so I guess that's not bad.

    OK I am rambling, but Frizzle, thanks for the info!