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Deep Frog

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  • Deep Frog

    Background: My mare has battled minor thrush on and off for about a year. I keep it nearly non-existent by spraying Banixx on the soles of her feet when the ground gets wet. If there does end up being a whiff of yuckiness I put some Thrush Buster on and everything clears up nicely.

    Now to the problem: she has one particular foot where the frog has gotten very deep and is now creating a split starting into the heel. I would say that the frog is about 1 1/2 ''. About six months ago the heels all around were rather soft, so I used Keratex to toughen up them up based on farrier recommendation, which worked. Haven't used it in four months though, but I'm wondering if it caused some drying and the deepening. I put some hoof conditioner on the past couple days but not sure what else to do. Called the farrier today to see if he can come out early to trim (I swear her feet had a growth spurt) and to look at this deepness. Everyone who has looked at the deep frog said not to worry about it, so I just kept an eye on it, but now that it's splitting I'm really worried. Even the vet who was out a month ago said not to worry (no splitting at the time). There is absolutely no heat in the hoof and she shows no sign of soreness. I'm just worried there is something more serious going on. Help!
    "Beware the hobby that eats."
    Benjamin Franklin

  • #2
    Could you get a photo?

    There is suppose to be a cleft there...but obviously, if it's really a crack or something it can trap additional bacteria and cause problems.

    Is her frog touching the ground when she walks?

    Also...good nutrition can go a long way towards preventing a lot of feet issues...with a healthy immune system, things seem to do better.

    Can you give more info on turnout, stalling, feed...and most importantly, pictures?

    I'm not a farrier nor do I play one on TV. (there's my disclaimer) BUt people often use words to describe things that mean one thing to them and something else entirely to the other person.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    • #3
      In our area (I'm in Suffolk) I am seeing a lot of deep frog sulcus infections lately. I've seen some so deep they go right up into the heel bulbs. That is very painful for the horse and can cause anything from a toe first landing to outright lameness. What I recommend to clients and love is Tomorrow Dry Cow. It is for cow Mastitis but it's killer for deep sulcus infections and it is not caustic to the sore tissues.


      • #4
        I have an old horse that has the same thing in one front. THere is a split up through his heel bulb. We've tried treating it for years and it's just there. Farrier said he will most likely have it for life unless you just locked him up and did nothing but treat it and then at his age, he'd probably stiffen up from arthritis. He does ok with it. I just have to keep an eye on it. I'd be interested to see a picture and see if we have the same thing.
        Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
        Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
        & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


        • #5
          You could also try a mixture of betadine and sugar. Mix as thick or thin as you like,soak a gauze pad in it and push it into the crack. Change daily,use until the crack is gone. The betadine will kill bacteria and the sugar will nourish healthy tissue growth. Safe and easy to use. Cheap as well.


          • Original Poster

            I'm out of town this week, and the cracks only appeared last week. The "cracks" as I am calling them are extending from the groove separating the frog from the sole rather than the central groove of the frog. I will try to get DH to take some photos, but not sure if he will be able to. Talked to farrier, who will try to squeeze her in on Thursday (Panache recently moved and will be a one-horse trip for him). Thanks for the ideas, betadine and sugar sounds like a good home remedy with no side effects (?).

            Daydream... any thoughts to the cause of these infections? Especially if it does turn out to be an infection.

            T/o schedule is now out at 9am-ish and back in around 5pm. She had been on a minimal turnout schedule as the mare herd at the old barn could get downright mean and mine would inevitably try to get in the middle and "play." Kept her out of the herd and on 1-2 hrs t/o per day to keep her from getting her butt handed back. She is on 2.5 lbs Strategy 2x per day now, grass during t/o, and 15-20 lbs hay overnight. Also on VitaFlex MSM (simply preventative) and Master's Hoof Blend (to help with new growth).
            "Beware the hobby that eats."
            Benjamin Franklin


            • #7
              Jump...I'm not 100% certain but I think it is the moisture and soft wet footing we have so much of. I see it in the summer too with the wet grass at night and horses out in pasture. It is most certainly not just in stalled horses. I do one barn up by Ft. Eustis near the water where nearly all the horses had feet like that at one point. I sell a lot of the Tomorrow product out of my truck and clients tell me how it clears up the deep thrush in one tube. I've seen similar results on my own horses. I've never used the betadine/sugar (sugardyne) mix personally but I know vets that recommend it.

              Another low cost idea is to use Pete Ramey's hoof goop remedy. It is 50% Triple Antibiotic cream and 50% Athlete's foot cream. He mixes it up and puts it in a bit syringe and squirts it liberally into the cracks.


              • #8
                You might try doing a treatment of the foot with White Lightning: you mix it half and half with white vinegar, put it into a soaking boot or a heavy-duty plastic bag, put the horse's hoof in as well and let it sit for half an hour.

                It's very good for clearing up even fairly well-rooted infections in the hoof.

                Good luck.

                "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


                • #9
                  Ditto Daydream Believer- I have one that has a tendency toward the exact same thing, and the anti-mastitis cow ointment is a lifesaver. It also comes in a handy applicator that can get right in there.

                  Per the recommendation of both my vet and farrier, if it's wet or muddy, I'll put a piece of gauze on a shoe nail and gently clean out the garbage before putting on the ointment, and/or pack in a little cotton after application, to help keep dirt and stuff out of there. With this sort of attention, the crack usually heals up in a week or two, or at least doesn't make him ouchy.

                  Good luck!


                  • #10
                    They seem to be nothing but can be extremely painful and can create unhealthy toe loading. Explore this crack with a hoof pick. Most likely your horse will flinch - if it does you can bet your farrier and vet that it is MORE than nothing!

                    We see this most commonly in the more non-dominant and contracted hooves. Most likely this hoof also has some contraction going on and is your horse's non-dominant hoof.

                    This also potentialy means it is not trimmed correctly. The heels are probably left too long, again creating more toe loading which will only foster heel contraction more.

                    In addition this condition is also mots often seen in unhealthy hooves, as in not getting enough minerals like zinc and copper and potentially too many sugars and starches.

                    No topical treatment in the world will ever eliminate this problem, if trim and diet are also contributing to the issue, which most often they do. If you have hooves with this tendency, then there's usually more going on.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks all!!

                      These tips and ideas are a great education. I've never come across a horse that I couldn't keep the feet healthy with. Farrier will be out on Sunday, which will be the first time I actually get to watch him shoe my horse. We talked for about 20 minutes on the phone today and he's leaning towards a chronic thrush-like infection but is definitely concerned since there were no cracks when he was last out, only four weeks ago. I will take a few pictures when I get home on Friday and get an update from him on Sunday. Hopefully this turns out well and doesn't result in any hidden lameness. Guess I'm glad I haven't sent in those HITS entries yet
                      "Beware the hobby that eats."
                      Benjamin Franklin


                      • #12
                        There's no reason why it should not turn out well with the right treatment, trim and nutrition. But, you miss any one of those potential contributing factors and it will most likely not resolve and be a chronic problem.


                        • #13
                          things that can cause deep frogs...

                          1. long feet (may not be immediately apparent if there is retained sole)
                          2. long heels
                          3. contracted heels
                          4. an upright or club foot

                          As you found out, the deep frogs predispose the feet to frog infection. Make sure the feet are trimmed properly, and I also recommend the cow mastitis treatment. The handy plastic tube makes it easy to get into the frog crevice.

                          Would love to see pictures!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Raystown View Post
                            things that can cause deep frogs...

                            1. long feet (may not be immediately apparent if there is retained sole)
                            2. long heels
                            3. contracted heels
                            4. an upright or club foot

                            As you found out, the deep frogs predispose the feet to frog infection. Make sure the feet are trimmed properly, and I also recommend the cow mastitis treatment. The handy plastic tube makes it easy to get into the frog crevice.

                            Would love to see pictures!
                            I agree, very god post!
                            I will add only one thing...... If this is a change from the normal shape of the hoof you very well may be looking at a lameness issue in that leg. With a longterm soreness the horse will not bear as much weight on the leg and the hoof will contract and appear as you describe.


                            • #15
                              A client just sent me a link to this website. She's got some interesting ideas about thrush that are worth exploring: http://www.healthyhoof.com/ . Scroll down to the bottom where she talks about thrush.

                              The client sent me the link because we've been battling contracted heels and a tendency to retain sole on her horse for quite some time. Even though he has tons of concavity and grows a nice, meaty frog, he's not comfortable on rocks. We discovered that he gets thrush deep down beside his frogs, and the owner has me trim them back to expose the area every month. The next month when I return to trim, it is back. The frog appears healthy, but it is hiding thrush. We've also treated the center sulcus with mastitis ointment in the past. The horse has had the sugar in his diet lowered in the past six months. No significant changes to the feet, other than that they aren't contracted as badly as they were before I started trimming him and he no longer has a crevice in his center sulcus.

                              I had recommended she start treating him with White Lightening to try to get the medication up into the infected tissue beside the frog. After reading the above web site, she started treating him with WL several times a week. After the first week, the horse lost some of his sensitivity to rocks. And his feet seem to be making changes for the better. I won't see him again for another 4 weeks, but I'm hoping he no longer has thrush deep beside his frogs. Owner sent me the link because she was so thrilled with the changes in his feet.

                              The trick to using WL effectively is to trap the gas created when the WL reacts with vinegar. I use oven bags, tape the top closed, and put a boot over that. If the bag is too thin, little holes appear even with a boot over top. If you don't trap the gas, it can't get to the thrush. It also doesn't take a lot of WL to treat the hoof. It's not a soak--the gas does the work, so you can use small amounts of the product and still get results.
                              "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                              • #16
                                for the betadine/sugar mix - are you using scrub or solution?

                                I've been battling thrush for about a year now as well. Tomorrow, today, koppertox, thrush buster, blue kote - you name it, it doesn't work. Vet said to use a mix of epsom salts, water and betadine solution in a soaking boot for 10 minutes and put an antifungal on after. I've heard good things about sugar scrubs though...