White lightening soaks are considered by many to be the gold standard in hoof funk treatment, whether it be thrush or white line disease. However, it is very expensive (~$2.48 per ounce) and requires a tedious air tight application. Fortunately there is another product with the same active ingredient (Chlorine Dioxide) at a MUCH lower price (~20 cents per ounce) and uses an easier application: Oxine.
It still has to be mixed with an activator, generally citric acid, but you can use vinegar instead. The citric acid is supposed to be more effective, but I’ve had good results mixing Oxine with apple cider vinegar.
There are detailed instructions for mixing and use at these websites:
I start by mixing the Oxine with the activator (citric acid OR vinegar). See links above for concentration options. I mix 1/4 cup of each Oxine and apple cider vinegar, then let it sit to activate while I prep the hooves.
Prep the hoof by cleaning it and scraping away and crumbling areas of the white line or any loose flaps on the frog. A wire brush can be helpful, or a horseshoe nail can be used to scrape away dead tissue and debris. I hose off the hoof and use some dish soap and a stiff brush to clean the bottom of the hoof. A toothbrush works great for getting down in crevices. Rinse the hoof well. Apply soaker hoof boot, such as an Easysoaker boot.
Add water to the Oxine / activator mixture. I mix mine in a 16 or 20 oz bottle and top it off with water. Pour into the soaker boots that are already on the horse. Set a timer to soak for 20 minutes.
I’ll be honest – I don’t really enjoy the process. It involves water and in my experience is usually only needed during mud season (aka winter… brrrr). When it is really cold and miserable outside, I sometimes skip the thorough hoof prep and just dry clean the hoof with a wire brush and hoof pick so I don’t have to deal with frozen hoses or get my hands wet. It still works, though maybe not quite as well. The Oxine soaks are worth the effort though – it works so much better than any other thrush treatment I’ve tried, and doesn’t harm the healthy tissue like so many caustic topicals on the market.
The sooner you catch the problem and get treatment started ASAP, the faster it will work. Really bad cases might require soaking a couple times a week for a while. My horses’ thrush has always responded well to one or two soaks, but I don’t ever let it get bad. I pick hooves daily and in the past they have had a stonedust drylot for some dry hoof time. This year will be interesting at the new farm, as I have no mud control or rocks yet, so we’ll just have to get through it. I have a feeling I’ll be using this more than I care to… Is it spring yet?!?