I just felt I ought to share this old fashioned wonder treatment in the hope someone else may find it handy and in an effort to remember it myself for the future.Copper Sulphate seems handy for a remarkable number of problems.

Copper sulphate for treatment of Thrush and seedy toe.

My farrier had recommended that I use a copper sulphate solution in the frog for years to help kill thrush but to be honest I found it totally non effective, at best it kept the surface thrush at bay. Roger was the horse in question and in the five years I’d had him I had never seemed to actually get rid of it. I had tried every potion anyone could recommend ; bleach- household cleaner and peroxide, purple sprays, sheep foot rot sprays,any number of specialist horse thrush ‘cures’,’canisten ‘ human thrush cream. A lot of them seemed to work a little on the surface but never came to grips with it. One day whilst searching more cures on the internet I found a farrier who said that during the shoeing of remedial feet with leather pads he had noticed to his surprise that it had cured thrush in the treated hooves. He thouht this odd as the covered padded warm area should have been a breeding ground for it. So he supposed that the copper sulphate crystals that he mixed with some special farrier mousse or gel or some such to go under the pad and sanitise the hoof must be what was curing the thrush. He also showed pictures of cutting back the frog in the treated hoof and how the whole thing had turned greeny blue where the copper sulphate had been absorbed.

Now obviously I didn’t have this special farrier mousse but since Roger’s holes where so huge and so painful,( he got to the point where he refused to lift his feet up for me anymore the treatments hurt so much) I figured it was worth washing his feet out with water then hopping a little of the fine copper sulphate crystals would stick for long enough to do some good. Obviously in the huge cracks and holes I jammed it right in with the hoof pick which made him wince. As he hated the foot treatments that hurt him so much I didn’t try again for another week . The following time I noticed that the frog looked blue in tiny areas and that he didn’t wince much at all with its application. Now I repeated this keeping him in overnight afterwards about once a week for maybe a month or 6 wks. I assure you he never had morethan 6 applications and I think a fair few less. It completely killed the thrush bacteria, making his frog eventually grow out from the deep crack so that it looked like a normal healthy frog, something I had never seen Roger possess. I too saw that a graet deal of the frog was stained blue where the copper sulphate had been absorbed into it. I can only guess that the solution was nowhere near as effective as it wasn’t so concentrated and tended to be more of a wash rather than having the opportunity to sit and be absorbed.

Last Autumn, I had a really big problem with seedy toe in the white lines of several of the young horses who always live out, the holes it was creating led to a lot getting gravelled which in turn led to abcesses. I think the mild wet weather was to blame but anyhow I treated it in a similar way to Roger’s thrush, firstly washing and cutting out the holes then sprinkling fine copper sulphate crystals into them and finally packing them where possible with cottonwool in attempt to keep the mud out. Again as with Roger the cure seemed to be almost immediate , I only bothered with the applications about four times and in every horse it seemed to rapidly kill the bacteria and encourage the hoof to grow back down healthily and normally. Again the hoof near the site had turned blue when it eventually came to trimming the are that had been affected

Copper Sulphate for treatment of proud flesh

This was a whole different ball game, I’ve heard in Ireland they’re big on rubbing bluestone and lime into wounds but it sounds a bit ‘quack’ to me and I haven’t yet spoken to anyone who can actually tell me why they do this.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this hind leg wound when it was first done, I was in too much shock to consider taking a picture. I saw my dear horse with a massive hole in it’s leg and whisked him off to the vet knowing damn well there was never going to be anthing they could do about it. Of course there wasn’t, although they could assure me in exchange for lots of money and a scan that none of the underlying tendons had been damaged, that he was fine, would be fine and that I was jolly lucky he hadn’t severed the main artery and bled to death in the field.

It was a damn great hole and I washed it out every day and kept it mostly bandaged to keep the swelling down and the dirt out. He lived in the field as I recommended to move about and reduce the swelling. It was healing pretty well and obviously clean and free from infection but it became apparent pretty quickly that the flesh was healing far quicker than the skin was ever going to close the gap over the hole.

Now i’m sure this is natures way of keeping rubbish out of the holaeand away from the precious workings but I really didn’t want him to have a grotesque piece of proud flesh sticking out of the hole. So I spent many hours researching the use of copper sulphate on proud flesh on the internet until I was eventually brave enough to give it a go. The results were astonishing. I took it very carefully as i was terrified of penentrating too deep and once you’ve put the powdered copper sulphate crystals on and left it overnight it looks a right worrying mess as you can see :

So the next time I used it the following day I put it on and left it only an hour or so before washing it off. Left on for this much time it just kills the very surface of the flesh which you can then wash away with your fingers and the hose. After about three days of this treatment the flesh was back to the level I guessed it probably should be so then I stopped using it. I expected that it would begin to grow again before the skin could cover it, but that was never the case . Gradually over some weeks the wound closed ;

So that today it looks like this ;

On one site I found someone describing copper sulphate as a tool to do your own surgery with, by applying it only to areas you want to remove. I think this is an accurate description, I found it didn’t come back perfectly flat so I just applied it to the higher areas I wanted to cut back.

Late last year my mother had an almost identical injury and I recommended she tried the method, it was a youngster in a field that she didn’t want to try bandaging etc, so her methods were much more basic. She applied the copper sulphate a couple of times when the flesh looked proud, never worrying to wash it off. I admit her results have been as good as mine, the leg at present is still a bit larger but whether it will always be so remains to be seen. Even if it does is that because it was a different horse with a different wound or because the constant bandaging of my horse’s leg never let it get big to start with ?

By way of interest I found a site saying it had been used in hospitals on people to treat proud flesh in the old days by rubbing a large piece over the area as it is so readily soluble. Is that right ? Do people even get proud flesh ? I’m not sure all creatures do ?

Copper Sulphate to treat warts and sarcoids

This is a hazy area I am really wanting to discover more about so if you are reading this and have better first hand knowledge of sarcoid treatment please, please let me know. I have one young horse with sarcoids, he has had them a few years and stupidly I didn’t worry about them in the early days.

(Since then I’ve had another young horse pop one , a bloody raw looking one about the size of a cherry. I put the copper sulphate on it twice where it easily stuck to the wet bloody surface , it immediately shrivelled and disappeared).

But back to the first horse ;he has several that got bigger and out of hand so I tried several treatments.

One was cut out, that was the best solution for him as it never grew back. It was not the best solution for me as it was incredibly expensive. So then I tried having them frozen off, that didn’t seem to work , while it did look promising at the start, it seemed to have irritated a larger area of skin which helped the sarcoids to spread. The next attempt was the horrifically expensive cream XXTERRA blemish remover ,recommended by a reliable english vet who feels that cutting them out only encourages regrowth.

Well for my horse they served to be a major irritant, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone least of all at 170 quid a pot. For the first week’s application it seemed to be making the sarcoids smaller but on subsequent applications to finish their removal far from reducing them ,it irritated and inflammed them causing them to grow at a tremendous rate. Around this time a french vet came for flu jabs and said these type of results from using XXTERRA were common in his experience but (in fairness) that all horses and their sarcoids seemed to respond to different treatments.

So at this stage we had two huge, angry ,ulcerated and growing sarcoids so after another internet consultation I thought I’d resort to the copper sulphate. At present my findings are incomplete.The horse found the copper sulphate application uncomfortable as it was burning away the fleshy growth. His hurt was not on a parallel with the XXterra cream . He’d get in a state of panic and start kicking out when I entered the stable with that and he’s usually the sweetest tempered horse. The copper sulphate has done a very good job at removing all the new ulcerated sarcoid growth the xterra promoted but I don’t know how it will continue to treat the smooth dry surfaced sarcoid that remains. At first I struggled to make the Copper Sulphate crystals stick to the dry surfaced sarcoid but I have since hit upon mixing it with flour and water to make a glue that seems to stick well. So fingers crossed for the results. Or better advice please, anyone ? (Tried the crest toothpaste to no avail  !)

As a final point Copper sulphate is fabulously inexpensive, a whole 2kg pot enough to do all these treatments and more was 15 euros.

Caution : Despite my fantastic results with Copper Sulphate I think it should be used with care, it seems to be pretty agressive on any type of wet or damp tissue.I also read about people using it to kill the nerve endings from home extracted teeth and using a large crystal to rub on mouth ulcers.

It is highly toxic, something I found out after I gargled it. After seeing it’s germ killing qualities on Roger’s feet I thought it might help to kill the germs in my throat that were causing my persistent and irritating cough. Like a complete prat I decided to gargle it first and check it’s toxicity later. I think I got off lightly with a blue tongue and splitting headache the following morning.