Thrush In Horses: What Is It & How To Prevent It


Have you ever picked out your horse’s hooves after a long rain storm and was greeted with a horrendous smell? Well, it is likely that that smell is caused from thrush, a bacterial infection in the hoof. But don’t worry, if you take care of it now, it is likely that the condition won’t progress and it will soon go away. But what is thrush? And what causes this smelly condition?

In this guide I will talk about:

  • What is thrush
  • What causes thrush
  • What climates is thrush most commonly seen in
  • How to prevent thrush

What Is Thrush?

Thrush is a bad smelling bacterial or fungal infection found in the horse’s hooves. This condition is usually caused when a horse has mud, manure, or another wet or moist substance in their hoof. When there is enough moisture in the hoof for a long enough time without the presence of much oxygen, the bacteria or fungus will then begin to grow and develop in the hoof and thus thrush is created.

What Causes Thrush?

There are three things that are needed to cause a horse to have thrush in their hooves. The three things are:

1. Moisture

Thrush is not able to be caused if a horse has a low moisture level in their hoof. If, however, it just recently rained or there is a lot of mud in your horse’s turnout, there can be a lot of moisture found in their hoof from this.

The most common sources of moisture found in the hooves that can cause thrush are mud and wet manure.

2. Bacteria or Fungus

The most important part of having thrush is the presence of fungus or bacteria! It is this that breaks down the hoof and causes that horrible smell.

The most common thrush causing bacteria found is naturally in the horse’s environment, especially if the conditions a horse is living in are unsanitary or wet. This bacteria is known as Fusobacterium necrophorum.

3. A Lack of Oxygen

The third factor that plays into thrush in horses is a lack of oxygen in the hoof. If the hoof is packed full with wet bacteria-ridden substances, the oxygen level and amount of air flow getting to the hoof is really low. This means that if a horse’s hoof is not exposed to oxygen for a while, that the bacteria has the perfect place to start growing its colonies and the battle against thrush begins!

What Climates Is This Hoof Condition Most Commonly Seen In?

Because thrush is directly related to moisture, it can be pretty obvious as to what climates are seen with this condition most commonly.

If rainfall, fog, and snow are common where you live, it is likely that thrush is more common in your area. Because Fusobacterium necrophorum thrives off of moisture, it is the wetter climates that have more cases of thrush.

How Can I Prevent My Horse From Getting Thrush?

There are a few things that you can do to prevent your horse from getting thrush. These things include:

  • Cleaning your horse’s hooves regularly
  • Removing all wet and soiled bedding from your horse’s stall
  • Keeping your horse in a dry place
  • Avoid riding or turning your horse out in a muddy or wet place
  • Apply a bacteria killing or drying ointment to the places on the hoof where thrush is most commonly seen

What Are The Best Anti-Thrush Ointments To Put On Your Horse’s Hooves?

#1 Thrush Buster

Thrush buster is an ointment that I use on my horse’s hooves all the time to help kill bacteria, dry out the bottom of the hoof, and to help harden the sole.

This ointment comes in a squeeze bottle that is easy to hold and to apply to the affected areas of the hoof. I like this thrush treating liquid because of how easy it is to apply and how well it works at killing the bacteria and drying out the thrush location.

The things I like best about this product are:

  • The easy application
  • The speed at which it works
  • The fact that it starts working as soon as it is applied
  • The simple ingredients list

I am warning you! This ointment is a highly pigmented purple color so don’t get it on your hands unless you want to have purple fingers!

#2 Absorbine Hooflex Thrush Remedy

This thrust killer is another one of the most popular thrush remedies on the market. Not only do you get a decent sized bottle of product, but you also get a product that works.

The things I like best about this product include:

  • The fact that this product prevents white line disease
  • It starts killing bacteria and fungus as soon as it is applied
  • It won’t stain your hands or your horse’s hooves

This is a great product for use on a horse with thrush.

#3 Big Mare Equine Thrush Spray

This thrush ointment comes in a spray bottle rather than a squeeze bottle so more product is able to be spread over the hoof at a time.

Not only will this spray kill and prevent thrush, but it will also help to maintain the condition of the hoof.

All of the product links posted on this site are associated with Amazon Affiliates. Through these links I earn a commission so your purchase is greatly appreciated!

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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