Prevention is better than cure

Mud Fever, or Pastern Dermatitis, is easily contracted especially during the wet winters, when bacteria starts to attack the skin around the lower leg. Crusty scabs appear alongside broken and damaged skin, often leading to swelling, heat and in extreme cases lameness. Mud fever can be painful, and often horses will not tolerate the area being touched.  

Horses with weakened immune systems such as Cushing’s disease, Thin skinned breeds and horses with white legs often are more prone but any horse exposed to prolonged wet and or muddy environment can develop the condition.  

As always prevention is better than cure, a few simple steps will help keep bacteria at bay and a daily care routine means owners will spot the symptoms as soon as they appear, making it easier to treat.  

Tips for preventing Mud Fever: 

  • Keeping horses prone to mud fever away from wet ,muddy conditions as much as possible, if they have to live out some hard standing should be provided. 
  • Grassland management – rotating fields to reduce poaching, fencing off particularly muddy areas can help. 
  • Avoid repeatedly washing legs. Let the mud dry and brush off with a soft bristled brush.  
  • If they have to be washed, ensure the legs are thoroughly dried straight away.   
  • Keep stabled horses’ bedding clean and dry 
  • Treat any underlying condition, or injuries that could allow bacteria to enter 
  • Clipping away any excess feathering, exposing legs to air and making them easier to clean and check (avoid clipping too close to the skin). 
  • Use of a barrier to prevent mud sticking to legs and soaking to skin level.  

Protection Plus is an easy to apply thick salve that helps to create a waterproof barrier when applied to clean, dry legs before exposure to muddy environments and wet ground. 

Anti-bacterial agents added to Protection Plus help fend off the specific bacteria that leads to Mud Fever. Applied liberally to vulnerable areas, especially the pasterns and heels, it can be used as a daily preventative measure, leaving skin clean, dry and protected underneath.   

Mud Fever prevention
Apply Protection Plus to prevent mud fever

Early diagnosis of Mud fever means the distressing effects can be minimized, and quickly treated, therefore legs should be checked daily. Owners with multiple horses should be conscious of cross contamination of equipment, using separate sponges and grooming brushes prevents spreading the problem from one horse to another.

If left untreated, further complications like cellulitis and even lymphangitis can develop. Where the condition is not clearing up quickly, Anti biotics and Anti-inflammatories may be recommended by your Vet depending on the clinical signs and overall health of your horse.

Used in conjunction with Protection Plus, Carr & Day & Martin’s Wound Cream, containing Aloe vera, Tea Tree, Vitamin E and Zinc Oxide aids the natural healing process of skin, providing your horse two-fold protection.

It can be especially useful to help ease the removal of stubborn scabs on horses already suffering from Mud Fever, teamed with Gallop Medicated shampoo as a first aid wash.

Treatment of Mud fever

  1. CleanGallop Medicated Shampoo. pH neutral gentle antibacterial formula with active ingredients to cleanse and clean the skin. Dry the legs thoroughly. Avoid rubbing as the legs can be sensitive and sore if scabs have developed.
  2. HealWound Cream. Apply Wound Cream to the scabs, alternating Step 1 and 2 until all of the scabs lift, redness reduced and the skin is full healed.
  3. Protect – Applying Protection Plus liberally to clean, dry legs before turnout into muddy fields provides a waterproof barrier preventing the condition re occurring.