thrush                                                                         sick donkey

From: "Vicki/ladywife" <>
To: <> 
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2001 
Subject:  Thrush

Pat L. wrote:  Help!!  I think one of my donkeys has thrush - she is limping a bit, hoof seems to be a bit 'crumbly', and it STINKS!  I know I've read a  bit about it on the lists, but it didn't concern me then... it does now! Is this really thrush? How do I treat it? How do I keep it from happening again?

Pat L., Thrush is a rotting of the frog with black, foul-smelling, moist gooey gunk in the frog clefts.  The stench of Thrush is unmistakable. A fullblown case of thrush will make even a seasoned farrier gag.  The smell is old pee,  puppy-diarrhea, spoiled hamburger, a dead rat under the refrigerator, week-old roadkill on a hot summer day and a tinge of burned wires smell, sort of metallic like the smell when you open the grill in May and find out you forgot to take out the aluminum foil from the Labor Day cookout before you put the grill away for winter.  It will take your breath away and cause  your eyes to water.  The appearance of a thrushy frog looks like a black, rotting sponge.  It is caused by poor hygiene, failure to clean the feet regularly, leaving the animal to stand in dirty (poopy-pee-ey) moist conditions, and by allowing the toes to grow too long. 

Treatment consists of:

#1 call an experienced professional farrier.  This isn't something you want an inexperienced home-taught part-time hoof trimmer to treat.  You want a farrier with experience for this one because he will need to pare away the rotting frog.

#2 clean the barn and area where the donkey spends time and put down a deep, dry bedding which should be kept picked and stirred at least twice daily until the thrush is under control.  If you have wet, muddy, slushy ground conditions then arrange an area inside the barn that is high and dry because you will need to keep the animal out of wet conditions. 

#3 after the farrier has cut away the rotting portion of frog, you will need to twice a day scrub the sole and frog with a dilute iodine solution such as Betadine scrub, making sure to keep the clefts cleaned and scrubbed.  A denture brush is just about the right size and shape for getting down deep into the cleft.  After scrubbing, rinsing, and blotting dry spray the sole and frog with an antibiotic spray such as nolvasan, kopertox, or blue-kote dressing. 

Usually if you have one thrushy animal the others aren't far away from thrush so have all of them checked by the farrier while he is there.  It is a lot easier to get it stopped early than it is to try to cure it after it's gotten a good start. 
Severe cases of thrush should be treated by the veterinarian. 


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