The Dreaded Mud Fever

So the dark days and sub-zero temperatures are rapidly descending on all of us, and when you have horses, it can really get tough!

There are plenty of winter ailments that spring up when horses are turned out in wet boggy conditions. One of the most common is of course mud fever. Mud fever is not just caused by mud – it is attributed to bacteria that can enter the skin and is found in damp conditions, for instance wet feathers.
Symptoms of mud fever can vary from mild lumps to very severe infection and usually the skin oozes serum, which dries into scabs, creating a lumpy skin surface, that can swell and become inflamed. Luckily, there are a few ways to tackle this condition.

The first is with prevention; you can try to prevent the wet and mud clinging to your horse’s legs in the first place by using turn out wraps on the legs or alternatively applying a barrier cream or powder, such as Keratex Mud Shield Powder, which we stock and is very popular with our customers.

Treating mud fever can be an uphill struggle, but keeping affected areas clean and above all as dry as possible is key. A specially formulated antibacterial scrub such as TriScrub or Naf equiCleanse can help to remove dead skin and promote healing; skin should be gently but thoroughly cleaned and the scabs should be gently removed for the healing process to begin (poultice if necessary, don’t just pick them off). The hair may need trimming away to aid cleaning and a wound gel or powder may be applied. The affected area will appear raw and will be sore, so it’s important to try to keep on top of the condition.

We understand that this can all sound a bit overwhelming and daunting if you’ve never had a horse that suffers from mud fever before. An excellent treatment plan to follow is the Carr Day & Martin 3 step mud protection program of Cleanse-Heal-Protect, which involves washing the affected areas with their Gallop Medicated Shampoo, then applying the Wound Cream and wrapping the legs in cling film (not too tightly!) to soften the scabs overnight so they can be removed without picking them, finally being followed by the application of ProtectionPlus, their excellent waterproof antibacterial barrier cream, which protects the vulnerable areas whilst natural antibacterial agents fight off the fever causing bacteria.

Once a horse has suffered from mud fever there may be a recurring sensitivity to the problem, so prevention is an important tactic in tackling mud fever.

Written by Natalie Scott