Welcome. This is Heath, Four Oaks VP.
You are likely here because you spotted one of our No Thrush Powder posts online and now recognize that your horse does, in fact, not only have a heel (sulcus) crack between the heel bulbs but also has softer than normal heels.
This is a major warning sign that there is an active thrush infection occurring right now.
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Below there is a link to learn everything there is to learn about sulcus thrush. But here I want to show pictures and make sure that folks are taking care of these heel cracks now – instead of waiting for the wet, cold, muddy months. It is FAR easier to deal with this 30-60 day treatment and regrowth process while wearing a t-shirt and jeans, versus three layers of shirts, a winter coat, and a headlight with waning batteries.
On this page, you will find a few customers’ before and after photos. You will find dozens more here on this site, and on our Facebook page. Notice that we want a “Dimple” in the heel. NOT a “crack.” If a horse has a sulcus/heel crack, it is guaranteed that bacteria will gravitate to that warm, moist, airless area.
An old farrier once gave me a perfect analogy.
He asked, “What happens when you mow your lawn and you take the clipping and spread them out in the sun?”
I said, “They dry up and blow away?
“Right,” he said. “Now, take that same bag of grass clippings, put them in the trash barrel, and close the lid. What will you find in three days?
“It will be a smelly, slimy, green-goo mess.”
“Yup,” he nodded.”That’s exactly what sulcus thrush does inside those heel cracks.
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Finally. Before I sign off, I know there are some of you living in warm, dry climates saying, “Yeah, my horse has a heel crack, but the frog and sole are rock hard! “
This may be true at the moment, but I guarantee you that thrush bacteria WILL get inside any open heel crack and it WILL ultimately cause multiple cases of sulcus thrush a year. Think about it. All it will take is for the horse to step in the puddle you made when you forgot to turn off the trough hose. That moisture activates the bacteria inside the crack, and Bamm, suddenly your horse is mysteriously “off” and you can’t figure out why.
Remember: Sulcus thrush hides in the heel so you can’t see it or smell it. Often you won’t even know it’s there until the horse gets a massive case and it becomes abundantly clear that SOMETHING is wrong with that heel!
Sulcus thrush happens at ANY time of the year.
Now, here is the link to the full Sulcus thrush story, as well as the application pro tips for No Thrush Powder to get the best and fastest results.
Everything you need to know about Sulcus Thrush and Heel Cracks!
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This is the first ever “official” testimonial for No Thrush – Circa 2010. I have to admit, this is pretty impressive!]
“I first witnessed the power of No Thrush while treating an A.O. Jumper who was suffering from months of severe thrush. In a matter of days after using No Thrush, the thrush was gone. We have continued on a No Thrush maintenance program, with no relapses, and the horse is now being re-conditioned to competitive show levels. Impressive product. Well Done”. Geoff Vernon, DVM, International Team Veterinarian –
- Rider Credit: Elizabeth Dickinson. Champion High AO Jumpers – The Oaks, CA 08/2007 – Showpark, CA 08/2008
This is one of the first high-profile horses that NO THRUSH Powder helped get back into the Arena after a devastating case of sulcus thrush. In fact, this was the first, official No_Thrush_Powder testimonial.
Wow… that seems like a long time ago! At that time we only sold NT in a few California stores and at our brand new online store. Since then No Thrush is now sold in 30+ countries around the world under the international Label “NT DRY.” Of course, NT Dry and No Thrush are the same product, and both are made right here in Southern California.
From all of us here at Four Oaks Farm,
Have a great Fall Season!
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IMPORTANT NOTE about our company: All of our products are made at our Four Oaks Farm Sport Horse Rehabilitation and Reconditioning Centre here in Simi Valley CA. When owner/creator, Kathleen Busfield finds a problem that she can’t fix using existing products, she goes to the drawing board and literally starts from scratch. After developing, testing and ultimately improving the health of the horse in question, the new product is then used and tested for years (on hundreds of horses) before Kathleen will allow the product to be sold in stores. Rest assured that Four Oaks Products will do exactly what we claim they will do.
This is worth a few moments of any horseperson’s time.
We received an email today from a good customer we had spoken to in the past. She provided pics The quick backstory is that Mrs. C is from B.C. Canada and late in January, she bought NO THRUSH Powder (AKA: NT DRY in Canada) to use on 4 horses with significant sulcus thrush.
Her email today said that she had great success on all the horses, except had trouble with one foot. It wouldn’t seem to firm up the way the others did. Then a few days ago she was cleaning feet and suddenly her pick dropped down into and created the hole in the sulcus that you see in the photos. It was bleeding and messy. She determined it was not a blown abscess, and asked for advice on what we thought this was and if she could use her NO THRUSH Powder to treat it.
This letter below will take you through the entire process with a Plan A as well as backup plan A.2 (if necessary.)
CLARITY NOTE: The before/after photo in the pics is not Mrs. C’s horse. This is the photo that I sent to her and which I mention in my response below.
“The short answer is:
Yes, you can use NT Dry for this issue. The fact that you can’t get this heel/frog firmed up using NT over these 4 months means that there is definitely an infection inside/underneath the tissue.
I looked back at our emails from January and reviewed the pics from back then. Those pics showed a typical thrush-created split between the heel bulbs. Now the horse has no heel crack. It appears that what has happened is that one of those old heel cracks closed up and encased a pocket of thrush…. FYI; When I’m doing customer demonstrations I show folks how to be quite aggressive when getting NT powder into the sulcus crack. I will wiggle my hoofpick side-to-side and really manipulate the tissue. The idea is to allow the tissue to regrow from the bottom, but not let it prematurely close from the top. This overgrowth is not normally a problem, but it happens. I’m sorry that I didn’t mention this protocol to you when we last spoke.
I’m guessing the thrush pocket has been active for a while, which is why the sulcus is now detaching from the frog (the area you circled in yellow.) Now it has finally made it to the surface and “suddenly” appeared.
So, to the point… If this was my horse, this is what I’d do for Equine Sulcus Thrush:
- Do a good clean of the foot. Since you already did an Epson salt soak, and you feel that it doesn’t appear to be an abscess, I wouldn’t do more soaking or washing. This will just give the bacteria the moisture it needs to thrive.
- Use your NT powder and puff it into the hole/opening of the wound, and really work it into the cracks around the detaching sulcus area. (Be sure to also use it in the clefts around the frog). and then Scrub it in with a stiff hoof brush.
- Add a little more powder on top and then do the same duct tape process you were doing. I like to add some cotton batting between the foot and tape to ensure the powder pops around in there all day long. If possible, change this every day for several days.
- The goal is to “Draw out”, “Dry up” and “Firm Up” as quickly as possible.
- In the ideal world, this process will draw out all the bacteria that was exposed when that hole opened up, and full regrowth will occur (20-50 days) to become the dimple we are looking for.
The potential concern would be that the bacteria pocket has expanded throughout the interior parts of the frog. So…. if in a few weeks you don’t feel that the frog/heel is firming up as it did with all your other horses, we may have to go to plan A./2
Heel crack test for thrush.
In that case, here is what I would do to be proactive…….
- After several days of doing the NT / Duct tape, when the frog has firmed up a bit, I’d get my farrier in and start slowly trimming away the detached sulcus. That tissue is trying very hard to become necrotic and his body will ultimately shed it. You will just be helping it along.
- NOTE: I have attached a before/after pic so you can see what I mean about trimming away the necrotic tissue. In the “After” picture, the sulcus looks dished out and has become a “dimple.”
- Continue the NT process. Really, really get the powder into all those little cracks in the sulcus tissue. (At some point when everything is very firm you can stop the duct tape wrapping.. But stay steady with the dusting.
- You or your trimmer keep paring down the sulcus whenever you can. At some point, you will hit the pocket of ingrown infection and can dust it directly with NT.
- Keep dusting until the hole/wound becomes a dimple and is completely covered with hide.
- After that, I suggest keeping up a preventative NT dusting a few times a week, since we know this horse is prone to thrush and infection.
Long-winded there! Hope this helps, Mrs. C. Call any time I can help.”
This is a real photo. What is it, you ask? Well, we had to do a lot of investigation, asking a dozen vets, and only when we went to the most seasoned farriers did we find someone who had seen it before.
This is what we came up with:
Prior to this picture, this horse had suffered from significant canker. That issue was eventually controlled, and the “normal” canker tissue growth was no longer present in the sulcus. (NOTE: Canker tissue looks like goopy cottage cheese and ultimately overtakes the sulcus and clefts. )
We believe, however, that the abnormal (excessive) keratin production found a new path. Instead of growing under the horn and bottom of the foot, in the anaerobic environment canker prefers, it funneled the tissue grow out the back of the sulcus. The result is fascinating.
This horse was sound and the “horn” did not cause any pain. The horn was firm and substantial. Every 6-8 weeks it needed to be cut off, only to start growing right back again.
This mystery is only marginally solved, so we’d love to hear from you if you have encountered something similar!
[ Scroll down for video]
“PRO TIP from a farrier” Here a farrier is showing us how to use No Thrush under the pads and hoof packing, which will help keep the frog and sole firm and “un-mushy.” …..
Are you using pads, hoof packing, hoof gels, or silicone on your horse’s feet? Add NO THRUSH POWDER to the process to help prevent the frog and sole from becoming a mushy mess. It will significantly improve the overall foot health and comfort of a padded horse.
So what exactly does the No Thrush® do?
1. It absorbs any existing moisture “before” it gets sealed in. (If you are also using a heat gun to dry things up, use that before you apply the powder.)
2. It creates a “dry” barrier between the foot and the gel-pad.
3. It keeps the integrity of the frog and sole to dry up and stay firm, and helps prevent the “mushiness.”
4. It battles bacteria during the entire showing cycle because the powder is locked inside with any thrush that may already be in there.
NOTE: No Thrush is not caustic so it won’t damage live tissue. One last thing: Above we have mainly discussed the gels and silicones. However, if you are using any other kind of pad, you will be able to puff No Thrush powder under the shoe from the back side. Just stick the tip of the bottle between the bulbs and blow it inside. Do this every few days. This will ensure that the powder is popping about in there all day long keeping things firm, dry, and thrush free.
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