Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about Thrush. Like all Shetlands, she is always watching, listening and learning.
Thrush is an infection of the hoof which is caused by anaerobic bacteria (Fusobacterium Necrophorum) that creates a black, foul-smelling sometimes cheesy-looking discharge. Thrush was originally thought to be a fungus but has recently been proved to be caused by bacteria.
It gives the appearance of the frog (a firm, spongy triangle-shaped structure in the center of a horse’s hoof that helps the horse to absorb shock) disintegrating. When the infection is fairly advanced, it may cause lameness or may affect the sensitive laminae. The infection thrives in manure and wet soil.
Thrush may be treated by disinfecting the hoof with an anti-thrush solution, once to twice a day for at least 10 days.
Picking a horse’s hooves once a day is a good preventive measure for thrush. Thrush is fairly common and rarely causes lasting damage if treated properly.