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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December 27, 2020 by JL (United States)
May 19, 2020 by Karen L. (WA, United States)
March 23, 2019 by Jan
Will never be without this
January 27, 2018 by Kaykaypee
October 2, 2017 by VICKI (CA, United States)
February 9, 2017 by MYRA K. (KY, United States)
October 3, 2016 by LISA M. (IN, United States)
By far, the best for thrush!
August 10, 2016 by Nemo
July 24, 2016 by Caillou
May 6, 2016 by Kaylyn W.
Love that it’s dry!
January 21, 2016 by Trappersfriend
Love this stuff!
December 16, 2015 by KDW22
I guarantee the story below will make you Barrel Racers, Ropers, Jumpers and Eventers take a closer look at your horse’s feet. We are once again in the midst of thrush season. This is not a sales pitch, it’s a true story. It can make a difference to so many of you. The attached video is included to give you the visuals.
Long story short – if your horse has a heel crack, there is a problem.
Thrush is a MUCH bigger deal than most think.
** Early this Spring I was manning a No Thrush booth at a big barrel Race. I was chatting with a pretty young woman about how and why heel cracks are such a problem. She was clearly a big hitter in the racing world, as all the little girls nearby were goggling and pointing in rapt attention. The woman and I finished up our chat and she said she would take a look at her horse’s feet when she headed back to the barn.
A few hours go by and she stops back by the booth. “Wow,” she said, “I checked my horse’s feet and both hinds have big cracks between the heels [the sulcus area between the bulbs]. Honestly,” she added, “I’ve never noticed them before. I just thought the cracks were normal. A lot of my horses have them.”
I asked her to show me.
At the barn we picked up the front feet. They both looked great. No cracks, no problems. I asked her to push on the bottom of the heel bulbs and they were nice and firm.
We picked up the back feet and there they were. Narrow but deep cracks in between the heel bulbs. There was no visible thrush whatsoever – none of the black goo in the clefts that most people associate with thrush. In fact, she didn’t see any of the black goo so thrush was the furthest thing from her mind.
I asked her to push on the bulbs. They were soft, almost squishy. Finally, I slipped the hoof pick inside the crack and it came out black and smelly and gross.
The young woman put her hands over her mouth and her eyes went wide. In a horrified monotone she said, “I am the best horse mom on this planet. How could I have not seen this?”
She then turned even whiter, a realization hitting her, “This horse is my rock star. He’s my main horse. But for the last six weeks we have been horrible! We are nowhere near the money. Are you saying THRUSH could be the problem?”
I nodded, “Think about it. Your horse has infected heels. That means they are soft and sore. When you start your run, you are expecting him to plant that sore, infected heel into the sand and make a hard turn. He won’t do it. He can’t. Instead he will only plant his toe, which is not good enough to hold the torque of the turn. His feet will slip out of the sand. I’m guessing he is taking his turns too wide?” I asked. She gritted her teeth, blew out a frustrated sigh, nodding.
We dusted her horse’s feet twice that day, twice the next day, and once on the morning of the 3rd race. She and the horse came in third – in the money for the first time in ages.
Obviously No Thrush powder didn’t “regrow” the heel crack in 3 days. But it did absorb and eliminate the damp thrush breeding ground that had infected his heels (without damaging the live tissue because it is not caustic.) Ultimately, the heels firmed up and he was able to plant his feet properly into the sand.
Important Note. No Thrush powder is going to get rid of the sulcus thrush fairly quickly. BUT please don’t stop there. That heel crack is made by thrush. It should not exist. If you just stop treating as soon as things are firm, bacteria will head right back in there, keeping you forever in the “Thrush Cycle.” So keep dusting until that crack regrows. Take a look at the video or the photos at the No Thrush website. It is supposed to be a “Dimple” not a “Crack.” This regrowth will typically take 20-50 days, depending on the severity of the crack.
Once you get back to the dimple, you will want to dust once a week for prevention. Thrush is not curable. A thrushy horse will always be susceptible.
Another note: If you have been using caustic store-bought products, or things like bleach or peroxide to combat thrush, these products will kill live tissue as well as the bacteria. Please, please do not use these inside an open sulcus crack – and Definitely do not “soak” with anything caustic. If you do it can take many months for the deep tissue to recover and begin to grow back into the proper dimple.
Here is an example: You would not willingly put your cut hand in a bucket of 10% bleach water every day. It will sting like mad, it will damage the tissue at the edge of your cut, and the result will be a jagged, ugly scar that looks like nubby proud flesh. Not good.
“TWO” Valuable NO THRUSH Pro Tips this month. (Scratches and a new topic: Clipping-Nicks). Obviously thrush is on a roll right now, but if you have been stopping in here, you you already know what to do about that. Meanwhile, we are getting a lot of calls this year about Scratches (AKA mud fever).
If your horse has white legs be sure to keep a good eye for drainage and scabbing starting to emerge between the fetlock and the coronet band. (White-legged horses are more prone to this problem, but it can occur on other colors as well.)
It is best if you find scratches before it gets out of control, so run your hand down the fetlocks every few days and feel for bumps. Mudfever/scratches can hide underneath the thick winter coat.
To use your NO THRUSH, just dust 1-2 times per day and “gently” rub into the hairline. Do not wash, and do not remove scabs. If you catch early, the scabs will fall off on their own in 3-5 days. To be safe, keep dusting every few days until the hair has regrown.
TIP 2: NEW TOPIC: For those of you who clip the coats of your athlete horses during the winter, you know that it is very easy to nick legs and faces. These nicks can get infected and cause swelling and additional longer-term problems such as lymphangitis. So we recommend dusting the legs with NO THRUSH after every clipping to protect the nicks and quickly staunch bleeding. (Yes, NO THRUSH is a coagulant.)
No need to waste: Just use lightly on legs that are not obviously nicked, but dust more thoroughly when you see blood spotting. Use in this same manner for nicks elsewhere on the face/body. (If using on the face, cover the eyes with your hand.)
This simple after-clipping habit will help protect against future avoidable problems. Have a great week. www.NoThrushShop.com