McKee-Pownall Equine Services | How-To


How To Treat Thrush

Why Do This?

Horses with upright feet, narrow heels, or chronic lameness causing poor circulation, can be prone to chronic thrush infections. The sulcus (split in the middle) of the frog gradually deepens, which traps debris and encourages more infection.

Severe cases are usually first treated with animalintex poultice, then move onto this long-term treatment regimen (Figure 1).


You will need the following items:

  • Hoof pick
  • Thrushbuster
  • Special Formula (antibiotic ointment prepared in a syringe)
  • 4x4 Gauze squares

How To

Pick out the foot, paying special attention to digging out the sulcus. Be aware that many horses will be quite painful here as infection invades the sensitive tissue.

Using a gauze square pulled into a rope shape, "floss" the sulcus back and forth to pick up additional debris (Figure 2).

Squirt Thrushbuster or other recommended medication into the sulcus, then pack it as deeply as possible with a clean gauze square or a cotton ball, using the hoof pick (Figures 3, 4 and 5).

This packing should be changed daily, and be left in place at all times except when riding or exercising the horse. The packing prevents dirt and manure from building up in the frog, and to keep the medication in place.

After 1 week of this treatment, depending on the severity of the infection, switch the medication from Thrushbuster to Special Formula (Figures 6 and 7). Continue to use Thrushbuster just once a week, but keep flossing and packing the frog during the Special Formula application.

Deep-seated frog infections can take months to clear, so be patient and diligent. Severe cases may require medicated soaking- contact the veterinarian to enquire about this treatment.