Mud and horses are an unavoidable mix. I think to keep a horse happy and promote wellbeing, allowing horses to be turned out all year, even if the fields are muddy is a must.
Of course if there’s not much grass in the field, then feeding hay in the field maybe necessary. But another common problem with mud is that the horses legs get covered in it, and this is what can cause a lot of issues.
Mud fever is a term used for a skin condition that affects the lower limbs of horses.
There may often be bacterium associated with the condition, including: Dermatophilus congolensis, and Staphylococcus spp.
Sore and/or scabby lesions or cracked skin will develop on affected areas (often the heels or pastern areas). Discharge from the skin stretching leads to scabs and tufted/matted hair. The skin is often sore to the touch. Swelling around the affected area is not uncommon.
Tara has had mud fever in the past, and the pain it caused was surprising – surprising, because it was only mud! It definitely shouldn’t be under-estimated and should not be left to get better by itself, as it probably won’t.
So how to help mud fever?
First of all if you think your horse has mud fever do speak to your Veterinary Surgeon, it’s possible that it’s not mud-fever, as there are other skin conditions that can appear similar, but need different treatment.
But if it’s definitely mud fever, then there’s lots of ways you can help – holistically.
Different therapies to help include:
Now you’ve probably seen a variety of advertisements about different skincare treatments to help with mud fever, and browsing any horse supplies store, you’re bound to find lots of different lotions and potions.
They can vary a lot. Some skincare products have synthetic ingredients and so are not natural. Personally, I’m always slightly worried about products which advise humans to wear gloves when using on the horse – if it’s not good enough for my skin, why should it be good enough for my horses?! What do you think?
My top tips are:
- Either gently brush off the dried mud, (so do later in the evening, after the horse has been in the yard for a couple of hours).
- Or gently wash off the mud with warm water, which has a few squirts of Aloe Veterinary Formula or Aloe First in it.
- If the skin is irritated, then cleansing gently with warm water with Aloe spray, and apply either Aloe Gelly or Aloe Propolis Creme.
For more holistic tips for helping mud fever, take a look at my advice page at Taranet
Until next time,
Director, Taranet Complementary Therapies for Animals (Business Consultancy, Social Media Training and Forever Business Owner)