Sheesh! It’s always something, isn’t it?
I discovered that the source of Beau’s problems is indeed thrush and it was getting deep. I finally bought one of these:
Not only did it give me a small end to pick out the seedy toe (also infected with thrush on the right fore but not the left), but it also gave me a flat thin end to dig out along the frog and sole where the thrush was proliferating even during our dry summer. With that, I discovered thrush in all four feet. I recommend that every horseperson add one of these to their grooming kit after what I learned and USE IT. And it’s also useful for what it’s intended–cleaning your own nails before going anywhere else after the barn (after sterilizing it from cleaning out the thrush of course).
Once I got the thrush out and cleaned the hooves thoroughly, the treatment with white lightning actually had an effect. The thrush was gone the next day, but it doesn’t stay gone. It has to be constantly monitored and regularly treated in those areas to keep it from returning.
Below is a video that explains the common places where thrush can be found in the hooves and pretty much what I discovered, except it doesn’t go into detail on the different treatments and only mentions betadine. I’ve used Hooflex Thrush Remedy with some success before I knew where the thrush was hiding. I also find what works is a combination of triple antibiotic ointment and athlete’s foot cream of 1% clotrimazole mixed into a syringe to be very effective when used correctly and regularly. The syringe makes it easy to squirt only what you need into the thrush-prone areas. To be sure it gets in there, I also now press it in deeper with the little tool above, after cleaning the area thoroughly.
But the most effective treatment I’ve found is White Lightning. You’ll find more on the Horse Health USA site about how to use it.
So, here is the video to help you find what I had to discover on my own:
As the vet in the video mentions, thrush will eat deep into the sole/frog sulci areas. In Beau’s case, it looked like the sole and frog were pretty much together, but in pressing the flat end of the tool above into it, I discovered the pocket of thrush, and it went 1/8 of an inch plus a little deeper, to where he flinched from even a gentle scraping.
I don’t know how long my poor boy has been living with this disease of his hooves, but he now has a more educated owner and I’m going to do all I can to help him heal and prevent this from happening again. It’s been no fun for him or me. I couldn’t do much riding the last couple of months due to the ulcers and thrush lameness, but now that I have it under control, he’s already moving much better and had a blast running free in the arena today. I’ll give him a few more days and then saddle up. The good part about his time off is that it’s given him a chance to rest while also getting over a minor viral infection that’s been going around causing a little snotty nose and eye goobers.