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Dealing with Mud Fever

Rachel - 02 / Feb / 2021

Dealing with Mud Fever

Most horse owners at one time or another will be faced with having to deal with mud fever! As the name suggests, it is most common in the winter months when it's particularly wet, boggy and muddy.

Most horse owners at one time or another will be faced with having to deal with mud fever! As the name suggests, it is most common in the winter months when it's particularly wet, boggy and muddy.

The damp ground softens the skin and allows a mixture of bacteria, typically dermatophilus congolensis and staphylococcus spp to get in. It can also be caused by fungal organisms. It can be very painful for the horse and stressful for the owner, as mud fever can be frustrating to treat. 

Most commonly seen on the heels and pasterns, the skin becomes cracked and inflamed and can travel up the legs. In severe cases, the legs can swell and the lesions may ooze pus which can be very uncomfortable for the horse and cause it to go lame. 

If you know your horse suffers from mud fever, there are lots of barrier creams available. 

We recommend the Love The Skin D-Itch Skin Spray by NAF - it is an oil based spray designed to repel water and dirt and generally stops the mud sticking to the horses coat. Used as directed and before symptoms are present, it works great as a preventative measure. 

In the unfortunate event that the mud fever has taken hold, then daily treatment will be required until the skin has healed. Firstly the horses legs will need to remain clean and dry, which may mean stabling the horse to remove it from the muddy environment. If this is not an option, then using a decent set of turnout boots may be the answer. We recommend the Pro Turnout Boots from LeMieux, that are made from an anti-bacterial, breathable neoprene. The boots have a durable skid cap which fits neatly around the horses fetlock and they have a reinforced PU leather pastern guard which not only protects the legs from mud fever, but also field strikes. The straps are elasticated for a perfect fit and the binding is soft ensuring the horse is comfortable all day. 

Daily removal of the scabs is often required, but care must be taken to avoid damaging the skin further. Diluted Hibiscrub, such as the Gold Label Triscrub, has excellent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and can be used to gently soak away the scabs. Once the legs are clean, they need to be patted dry with a towel - rubbing vigorously can spread the infection. Once the legs are dry, an anti-bacterial topical cream can be applied such as the Veredus Neo Derma Cream which nourishes and restores the epidermis, perfect for dry, sore skin. 

If you are at all worried or your horse is in discomfort, your vet should be called as antibiotics and pain relief may be required to get on top of the 

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