Part medical treatment, part practicing for dress-up

hoof diagram

Every so often, Rocky gets a little thrush infection. Why this happens, I’m not sure, as his pen is cleaned thoroughly twice a day and he doesn’t stand around in wetness and he gets regular exercise and I clean his feet almost daily.

Thrush is a degeneration of the frog with secondary anaerobic bacterial infection that begins in the central and collateral sulci. – Merck Veterinary Manual

But he does have a tight, deep central sulcus on each foot, and that’s exactly the kind of place that anaerobic bacteria loves to colonize. He’s the only horse on the ranch that gets thrush regularly (every 2 years or so), and will have it even when the other horses in the same pen do not. It must be a Special Rocky Thing.

When this happens, it’s time to break out the CleanTrax thrush-buster
and be thankful for our Parelli studies. I have progressed since our last soaking and was better able to read Rocky’s concerns, address them, help him feel confident, and prevent any Incidents that would have increased his anxiety instead of dissipated it.

The first time Rocky had to soak a few years ago, he was frozen to the ground with anxiety about the knee-high soaking boots. (He didn’t like his shipping boots, either, way back when!) The second time he had more of a “The boots are pinning me to the earth so you better stand right here” attitude.

Today, he gave the waders that unmistakable “Oh, man, is this another one of those Parelli things?” glance and then pretty quickly ignored them. His buddy Stu was also having a preventative soak after several weeks of stall rest due to an abscess.


Rocky stood still almost the entire time, and after the first 20 minutes or so he let go his tension just hung out cooperatively, eating his hay and watching the other horses as they came for their regular trims or shoeings. When he did move, it was to deal with flies and not to get away from the boot. I clipped a savvy string to each boot to help keep it from falling down and spilling the precious solution.


What we do is have the farrier remove the shoes and trim the hoof like usual. We give Rocky a big hay bag, stuffed full. We then mix the CleanTrax in a gallon of warm water, put the high boots on two of the legs, and pour half the solution in each, and let it soak for 45 minutes. I clip a savvy string to each boot and stand nearby to ensure the boots stay up even if Rocky moves, and to pull them back up when necessary.

After 45 minutes, we lift each foot out of the boot and, without letting the foot touch the ground, wrap the foot in a Ziplock baggie and secure the baggie with vet wrap. Rocky can then put his foot down and give it another 45 minutes to process.  Meanwhile, we pour the used solution into a container, put the other two legs into the boots, pour the used solution back into the bags, and repeat the whole procedure. After all four feet are unbagged and dry, the farrier puts new shoes on and finishes the trim.

We pour the solution on the mats and sweep it around to kill any remaining bacteria, spores, and fungi. And we do all of this in the sun, as the various microorganisms cannot survive the UV rays.

If he can handle all that, I’m sure he’ll have no problem with a costume like this.


Categories: Health | Tags: | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Part medical treatment, part practicing for dress-up

  1. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to
    her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this
    is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

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