Thrush is a moist exudative dermatitis that specifically involves the areas around the frog on the sole and heel surface of a horses hoof.
Thrush has a characteristic black odorous discharge caused from bacterial proliferation. The bacteria can create enough damage to sensitive tissues that the animal may experience pain as well as lameness.
The first symptom a care giver may notice is a foul odor when cleaning the hoof.
As symptoms progress, a blackened, moist discharge or blackened necrotic (dead) tissue may be present in the crevices of the bottom of the foot (sulci).
If the condition has progressed sufficiently, the animal may show evidence of lameness or tenderness when its feet are being picked out or when it is asked to move.
Horses acquire thrush by lack of proper trimming and foot care. Increased depth of the sulci around the frog allows packing of organic material in the foot.
A poor hoof care maintenance program contributes greatly to thrush. Organic material which packs around the frog, such as an accumulation of moist sawdust or manure will create an environment in which excessive bacterial development occurs.
Keeping the hoof dry and cleaned out on a daily basis helps to prevent thrush.
The white line is an area on the horses hoof that is at the juncture of the hoof wall and the sole. The white line is the bond between the hoof wall and underlying structures.
When the hoof is examined from the bottom of the sole, the area is readily seen.
White line disease is a breakdown of the integrity of the white line by bacterial and/or fungal invaders.
Most other products are dark blue or purple liquids that stain skin, clothing and cement. Since the products are not self retaining, the foot has to be held up until the product dries, which would take several minutes.
In order to place enough of the product into the sulci to treat the entire area, leakage and dribbling will occur without fail. This leakage out of the hoof inevitably stains the care givers skin, clothes, the horses hoof, etc. Even without a product that stains, the product does not stay in contact with the affected areas long enough to be effective. Therefore, most of these products are not only messy but, have to be applied for 10–14 days to be effective.
Veterinary Preference Thrush Treatment is superior in that it not only provides anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties but that it is a mild desiccant (drying agent), is self retaining and less messy. Additionally, Veterinary Preference can be used for both thrush and white line disease.
The following are good resources:
An Alternate Approach to White Line Disease Repair by Rusty Freeman
Management of White Line Disease by Stephen O’Grady
White Line Disease — An Update by Stephen O’Grady
What is the “Whole Horse” approach? By Esco Buff, PhD, CF. Used by permission of author and appearing in the American Farriers Journal, issue and pages
White Line Disease by James Rooney, DVM