In the early 2000s I was privileged to present at the Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium, held in Louisville, Kentucky, and sponsor a trip to the conference for a couple young farriers who had been spending time at my clinic. Let’s just say these guys didn’t get to town much. One evening, after a day’s worth of symposium presentations, a group of us went to a nice steakhouse. When it came time for dessert, I suggested to one of my farrier friends that he try the crème brûlée. 

“What is it?” he asked.

“You’ll see,” I said. The dessert arrived, he sampled it, and then proclaimed, “Well that ain’t nothing but vanilla pudding with crunchy stuff on top. But it’s good!” 

That story is one of my all-time favorites, and it came to mind as I began to write about thrush. What is it? It’s the black, stinky gooey stuff in the bottom of your horse’s foot. I bet 90% or more of the feet I pick up have some black, smelly gooey stuff in them. And I probably get almost that high of a percentage of questions/comments from owners about their horses having “problems” with thrush.  

Thrush is an anaerobic (able to survive with little to no oxygen) bacterial disease affecting the frog area and surrounding sensitive tissues of the horse’s foot. I don’t typically become involved in a case of thrush until it has invaded beneath the cornified