Just what the title says is what you’ll find in this post after my experiences…
First off, I’d like to rate my product preferences for treatments:
#1 WHITE LIGHTNING
White Lightning’s many options now available from GrandCircuitInc.com.
This is the most effective treatment I have found. Pros–it kills everything except healthy tissues. Cons–price (expensive) and a lot of work with having to thoroughly clean the hooves to make this effective.
I have been mentioning this in all my trials and tribulations with treating Beau’s deep thrush. After a treatment, he can walk off sound, but his frogs have deep-seated disease that is hell-bent on staying. WL is the only treatment that consistently has given up good results.
Purchase directly from grandcircuitinc.com or from horsehealthusa.com (my preference–free shipping with orders over $75). I’ve tried the gel and didn’t see any improvement from it. I’d stick to the liquid soak.
#2 NO THRUSH
No Thrush powder available from Smartpakequine.com in either 2.5 oz or 5.5 oz. bottles
This is my second favorite choice of products for treating thrush. Pros–dry powder useful for coat fungus as well as thrush, can be used without washing hooves. Cons–expensive (prices seem to have jumped recently but I don’t know why, possibly supply-demand because it is effective), it may not get into all the places thrush thrives, doesn’t stick to dry hooves.
I’ve had only modest success with this and only use it in wet conditions between WL soaks. It doesn’t stay on the hoof very well. If you have severe case, I don’t recommend this product, but for mild cases of thrush, it can do the job. For coat fungi, it works great! Much easier and less messy than prescription creams from the vet.
#3 TRIPLE ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT + CLOTRIMAZOLE (ATHLETE’S FOOT/JOCK ITCH CREAM) (aka Ramey’s Goo)
The brainchild of barefoot trimmer Pete Ramey, these two ingredients together kill bacteria and fungi. Mix equal parts together and stuff into a syringe–I like 35 mL because it’s the largest that I can use one-handed. Pros–cheap (you can find generics on Amazon for less than $2 per 1 oz. tube if willing to buy in bulk), stays on, effective, gentle on all tissues. Cons–mixing and getting into the syringe takes a little time and patience.
I have found this treatment effective, but on my boy’s problem hooves, it doesn’t go far enough. Like the No Thrush, I tend to only use it on days that I’m not soaking in WL. On less problematic cases, I can see it being very effective.
And now to go on to other products that I have used and tried, starting with soaking boots.
#1 ZIPLOC GALLON FREEZER BAGS
Not much to say. They can be bought in Target, Wal-Mart, and many grocery stores. Pros–inexpensive, readily available, perfect size for average or small hooves. Cons–noisy (please desensitize your horse before attaching any plastic to any part of their bodies!), need to double bag or wrap with duct tape to prevent too much leaking and they often still break so you’ll be using a lot.
I had to work my horse up from one hoof which was frightening but not jumping out of his skin (he’s been desensitized with grocery bags and other plastic stuff) to having all four soaking at once. Your easy to find food storage bags are great for hoof soaking and freezer bags are heavier than regular Ziploc bags, but you’ll be replacing them after each use.
#2 DAVIS THE MEDICINE BOOT
The Medicine Boot by Davis, available from Smartpakequine.com and many other equine retailers
These are great for soaking with water but not so much for treating, unless you put the bagged foot inside the boot. Pros–reusable, fairly cheap for what they are. Cons–liquids can splash out the open top, can be hard to get hoof inside but a little oil on the back of the boot can help, also requires some desensitization of the horse because they are a strange thing being attached to their hoof especially if they move their foot and water splashes out.
I do like these for soaking in water but not for the WL soaking because of the open top. WL is effective for the gas that is produced to kill the organisms, so you still need to wrap in plastic and tap it shut, whether you insert that into one of these boots or just let it stand with the bag on it.
#3 WHITE LIGHTNING SOAKING BAGS
WL soaking bags from GrandCircuitinc.com
These are heavy plastic bags that can be flattened on the bottom to accommodate every hoof. They are tall but can be cut down, as the WL gas only needs to treat the hoof. I wrap around the pasterns with duct tape to seal in the gas. Pros–heavy plastic, large (one-size fits all), reusable. Cons–price ($8 for 4 bags, about the same price as two 30-bag packs of the Ziploc bags mentioned above), not much more durable than Ziploc freezer bags.
I like these bags and expected them to last through many treatments. Unfortunately, none of them lasted through more than two treatments. Part of that is because my horse has become so desensitized that he doesn’t care if he moves his feet wrapped in plastic or rests them. The pressure from the toes, I believe, is what caused them to tear enough at the seams to leak.
And last, there are other products I’ve mentioned which deserve a little attention…
1) REVLON STAINLESS STEEL NAIL GROOMER
Limited availability but the best nail groomer for using on hooves, by Revlon
Let’s face it–most of us who are this concerned for our horses are ladies. And even if you’re not, you can always order online if you’re too embarrassed to purchase in the store.
I’ve said it many times in my thrush-fighting updates that this tool is my single most important in my kit. It’s stainless steel, so it’s durable. That long neck to the tiny scoop can get into the deepest crevices, and trust me when I say that I have found crap where you wouldn’t expect it, thanks to this. The flat side is a great hoof pick and its rounded.
I keep a few on hand as back ups, since I’m prone to misplacing things. Unfortunately, I can’t find them in the stores any more and Amazon only has them as an add-on item. I wish Revlon would continue with these, because this is the best I’ve found.
However, there’s another alternative. My husband has something very similar, which is where I got the idea. His tool, however, is marketed for modelers–he works on strategy gaming miniatures. So, if you can’t find this, look in modeling supplies at a comics/gaming store or hobby store. I might have to do that if I ever misplace all of these that I have on hand.
2) GROUT SCRUB BRUSH
Premium Grout Scrub Brush by Scotch Brite from Target.com
This and many like it are great for scrubbing out collateral grooves and central sulci in those thrushy frogs. However, I don’t recommend it on very sensitive frogs. If your horse tries to pull away from these stiff bristles, switch to a plain toothbrush, my next item of choice.
These grout brushes can be found in the cleaning aisles at discount stores and supermarkets. This one is currently $4.49 from Target.com. You’ll have to replace it once the bristles become flared, but that takes a while.
3) PLAIN TOOTH BRUSHES
4-pack Up N Up toothbrushes from Target.com
I’m not talking the fancy heads designed for cleaning teeth and gums but the plain bristles of yore, the ones we had when we were kids before all these newfangled fancy teeth cleaning systems were available. (My dentist has made a mint off of me.) Nothing fancy. Cheap and even available in multi-packs.
The pack shown is only $3.94 from Target.com, the same pack I bought for scrubbing my horse’s frogs. They’re soft and gentle on sensitive tissues. When he objects to the hard bristles of the grout brush or I need to get deep into his central sulci, which the grout brush is too big to squeeze into–we’re working on this with getting his hooves clean so his heels open up–I use one of these. I scrub his hooves clean before soaking in White Lightning, and these brushes are very helpful.
Those are my recommendations in the fight against thrush. It’s a long battle for us, but I hope my experiences can help you win the race faster.