Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Deep central sulcus infections are much more common and much harder for horse owners to identify than you’d think.
Before and after of the same horse using Pure Sole Hoof Mud
· Identifying a central sulcus infection
The first thing you want to look for is a crack at the back center of the frog, between the heel bulbs. A healthy frog should have a thumb print type indent in the back portion of the central sulcus of the frog. If there is a slit or crack (think plumbers crack) in the back of the frog going up the back of the foot, you have a deep central sulcus infection. In severe cases it can go all the way up to the coronet band!
You can gently place the tip of your hoof pick down into the crack, and in deep cases the entire tip will disappear. Gentle is key as these infections can be very painful for the horse.
Now that you’ve identified that there is a deep infection present, why is it there?
Central sulcus infections can occur for any number of reasons--wet living conditions, standing in urine and manure, lacking certain nutrients in the diet, lack of proper hoof care, or for no obvious reason at all. But these infections are also common in horses with contracted heels, in club footed horses, and under therapeutic pads.
No matter how well you care for your horse’s hooves if you aren’t specifically addressing that area odds are it won’t clear up on its own.
· Game plan
The first step is to try to get as much air to the area as possible; the bacteria causing thrush are anaerobic, they love to hide where air can’t get to easily. Your farrier or vet can open up the central sulcus of the frog as much as possible to get the area in contact with air and to make it easier for you to keep clean and treat between their visits.
The second step is treatment. Our favorite protocol for central sulcus infections is cleaning out as deeply as you safely can with your hoof pick, think slow and gentle. Then take Pure Sole Hoof Cleanse and place the nozzle right at the back of the crack and shoot the spray through and out the other side, trying to flush out the area as thoroughly as possible.
For deep cases you can take some bandaging gauze and run it down into the crack; holding both ends and "flossing" deeply and pulling it through and out. You can get some amazingly nasty stuff out this way!
Let the hoof dry a bit if possible then take Pure Sole Hoof Mud and push it down in, trying to really pack it down inside as deeply as you can.
You can also pull apart a cotton ball or rip off a bit of bandaging cotton and press it down on top to help the mud last a bit longer.
Repeat every few days or as you see the mud needs replenishing.
Keep your horse’s living environment as dry as you can. Better yet adding pea gravel to an area of your horse’s corral is amazing for frog health and development.
· Open to air if possible
· Dry out living conditions whenever possible
· And keep at it. We’ve seen some amazing frog and hoof health transformations and we look forward to hearing about yours too!·