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Horse Thrush vs. Human Thrush

I overheard some parents talking about thrush in their child. Their conversation caught my attention because recently, I had to treat my horse for thrush. I decided to do some research on both types of thrush and see if there is any connection in type, symptoms or treatments.

What is Thrush?
Thrush in horses is an infection that inflicts the hoof. It’s caused by a bacteria that with the help of moisture, gets trapped in the hoof and slowly eats away the tissue, particularly around the frog area.

Thrush found in humans is different. Found mostly in small children and older adults, human thrush is caused when a yeast known Candida, which is naturally found on the body, grows out of control. It is found in babies because their immune systems are not yet strong enough to fight it off. It is found in older adults because as we age, our immune systems weaken.

There is no evidence that human thrush and horse thrush are connected and there is no evidence to support that one can be contacted from the other. However, it’s always a good idea to be as sanitary as possible when dealing with any infections, whether it’s found in yourself, a family member or your animals. Wash your hands often and keep your house and horse stalls clean.

Signs of Thrush
You can easily tell if your horse has thrush. The frog (the equivalent of the fingernail found on a human) will start peeling and have a strong, unpleasant smell. The hoof itself will be sore and sometimes will have a black pus discharge.

Thrush is humans is also easy to spot. White patches are found in the mouth and the tongue.

Is Thrush Serious?
In horses, thrush is not serious, unless it is left untreated. Your horse will experience some discomfort, but since it is easy to spot and easy to treat, this discomfort will not last long nor be severe.

In humans, it’s the same scenario. Thrush is not serious, unless it is left untreated. If you notice signs of thrush, visit your doctor immediately to avoid a more serious complication.

Treatments for Thrush
If you spot thrush in your horses, call your farrier. He can clean and trim your horse’s hooves, preparing it for treatment. Than, use Mane ‘n Tail’s Pro-Tect Thrush Treatment, which goes beyond the everyday thrush treatments on the market today. This exclusive natural water based formula eliminates organisms associated with thrush and other hoof related diseases. It is a deep penetrating gel formula that assures a complete and effective treatment, killing the bacteria associated with thrush.

According to WebMD, thrush in human babies is usually treated with prescribed anti-fungal medicine such as nystatin liquid. This liquid is topical and put directly on the white patches. Thrush in adults is at first treated the same way as in babies. If this topical treatment doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal pill.

Preventing and Managing Thrush
For your horse, regularly scheduled visits from your farrier will help control the onset of thrush. Use Mane ‘n Tail’s Pro-Tect Antimicrobial Medicated Shampoo, which is effective for treating skin problems and can also act as a preventative against bacteria, yeast, mold, fungi and viruses, when used regularly.

In babies, keep bottles and pacifiers clean, using hot water. Since yeast infections can be passed between mother and child through breast feeding, your doctor might recommend a topical treatment for the nipples. In adults, keep the mouth area clean. If dentures are involved, soak them overnight in a denture cleanser and rinse them again
before use.

So I learned that while both infections of thrush in humans and horses have similarities, they are not connected. It is also good to know that neither is serious, if treated immediately. As always, if you notice signs of complications in your child or horse, contact your doctor of veterinarian immediately.

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