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Koppertox toxicity

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  • Koppertox toxicity

    I'm currently a long distance horse owner as I'm traveling to do some field work for my grad program. Between my SO and the BOs he's been getting excellent care and enjoying 24/7 turnout with his buddies as my time away amounts to a couple months of vacation for him to grow up a little more after his initial first few months under saddle.

    Unfortunately, we've been battling thrush with the pony for several months now. My SO sends me photo updates and while there was dramatic improvement while it was cold enough that the ground was frozen, now that the wet springtime weather has started, the thrush is back!

    I had my SO start working Koppertox into the thrush treatment rotation. I know it is/can be harsh on healthy tissue as well as treating the thrush, so he was applying it 1-2x per week along with daily cleaning and application of a tea tree oil based treatment.

    The BOs expressed concern that the Koppertox being applied to the pony's feet is being tracked all over the field, dry lot and barn areas and has great potential to cause toxicity in the other horses or animals around the barn. Has anyone experienced issues with this in the past?

    Obviously, their barn, their rules, so I will find another alternative. I'm just curious about potential toxicity issues as while I know many people who love Koppertox as a thrush treatment and many people who hate it, I've never heard about this issue before.

  • #2
    I have never ever heard of koppertox toxicity in 30 yrs of riding, and 20+ years of owning horses. That, of course, may not mean anything but...

    And, I use koppertox on a regular basis, and have for a long time.

    Interested to hear if others have heard of a toxicity.
    Unrepentant carb eater


    • #3
      Sheep are copper sensitive so I use idodine-based thrush treatments here (pony shares a smallish pen part-time with three sheep). But people and other horses suffering because of Koppertox hoofprints? Haven't heard that one.

      Now, green hoofprint stains being hard to get out of certain surfaces, that I could see a BO not liking. But it's pretty much a choice between green or purple if the horse is shod, right?
      Last edited by HorsesinHaiti; Feb. 23, 2013, 08:06 PM. Reason: added info
      HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
      www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog


      • #4
        I can tell you I'm allergic to Kopertox... my throat starts closing up if I even walk into a poorly-ventilated room where it's stored and I break out in hives if it touches my skin. It's the naphthalene in it that I'm allergic to; the same thing happens if I'm around moth balls.

        Honestly, I don't think once a week application is going to cause major health hazards to your barn and surrounding ecosystem. But the stuff is pretty nasty in general.
        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


        • #5
          I, too, have never heard of koppertox toxicity in over 20+ years of horse ownership.
          Along with leaving awesome green stains, it can have a really strong smell, too. I accidentally knocked a bottle over outside my barn last week and it still reeks to high heaven.
          My farrier recommends a good wire farrier brush and thrushbuster, if the BO wants to try that. But I believe that is the purple stuff HorsesinHaiti referred to (I've never personally used it).
          There was also a relatively recent (as in maybe the last month or two) about thrush treatments, so perhaps you can give your BO some other options if they're really wigging out about this supposed "toxicity".


          • #6
            I've never heard of that either. I have used it in the past but i usually use thrush buster. It does smell horrible though. I use rubber gloves with it but it somehow still holds the smell on my hands all day even after washing them. Horrible smell lol.
            Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


            • #7
              I've never heard of toxicity, but it seems like my horse with chronic thrush builds a resistance to it and also Thrush buster if I use them too often. Also the stuff smells awful. I spilled some in my car a few years ago and you can still smell it sometimes.

              If you haven't already tried White Lightening, I highly recommend it. That is the only thing I've found that really makes a huge impact. Its a pain in the ass to use but worth it.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the input everyone. I agree that Koppertox is pretty foul stuff and could understand if someone banned it from their barn for stain/smell alone! Luckily, several thrush treatment threads on COTH and suggestions in this thread have given me so many other options for treatment/prevention that I don't feel limited by removing Koppertox from the line up.

                Mainly, I'm just glad to be able to tell my SO that actually poisoning an animal with the trace amounts of Koppertox from hooves isn't something any of the very experienced horse folks on COTH have ever heard of. The poor guy was extremely worried that he'd sickened one of the herd and as he is the chief giver of treats and wither scratches even when I'm not traveling, he was quite upset that he might have inadvertently harmed one of his equine pals.

                And HorsesInHaiti and Texarkana - thanks for the info on sheep and personal allergies. Texarkana, I hope Koppertox is banned from your barn - your reaction sounds very unpleasant.


                • #9
                  might create a problem when the whole herd is wading it in every day.

                  I seriously doubt that painting it on the bottom of a couple of horses is going to create a toxicity problem.

                  Most of the soil and pasture analysis I've looked at are low in Copper, so it could actually be a good thing, in moderation.

                  Drama. Sigh.......
                  Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                  • #10
                    With things like that, whatever the BO/BM wants, that is what you have to do.
                    Good that you have other you can use.
                    Leave your battles for the important stuff.


                    • #11
                      Considering the quarts and quarts of virtually useless fly spray that people spray all over their animals, the gallons of shampoo that get rinsed off into the ground when horses are bathed, the bute, antibiotics, supplements and various herbal remedies that are dosed willy-nilly with no apparent caution as to safety to horses that may or may not need them, I find it almost laughable that someone would single out a few drops of a thrush remedy as public enemy #1.

                      I wouldn't want it used on my concrete barn aisle because the stains are permanent, but other than that, sheesh . . . bigger fish to fry.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • Original Poster

                        Indeed - bigger fish to fry/not worth the drama are my thoughts regarding the Koppertox/barn management issue! I'll save letting out my inner crazy horse person (because aren't we all a little crazy?) for much more pressing issues