ADVICE ON HORSE MUD FEVER
This is a condition that affects horses mainly with feathered legs, but can also affect other types of horses too. The best way to avoid this annoying skin condition is prevention, although during the winter months this can prove impossible due to muddy wet conditions in the fields.
Firstly, you should seek a vets advice for confirmation. If the legs are very swollen legs or there is lameness, this should be your first plan of action.
This skin condition presents itself with the skin becoming sore and scaly, often producing pus which then scabs over within the hair. When these scabs are removed, more pus presents itself, forming a build up of the natural bacterium of the horses skin (known medically as Dermatophilous) .
Your vet will take a swab of the pus to rule out any other bacterium that maybe complicating this condition, in order to treat it with antibiotics if necessary. You may also be given steroid ointments and an anti-inflammatory, such as Bute.
This skin disease is more of a nuisance than anything because it is difficult to manage once it has set in.
However, some precautions can be taken if it is reoccurring, these precautions may not completely prevent the condition, but may reduce the severity of the symptoms.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
Try to bring any horses that are prone to this condition in overnight, to allow the legs to dry off. Keeping the legs and skin as dry as possible is key to this condition. Try to use a barrier cream before any break outs of scabs or sores. Do not use barrier cream after the scabs have broken out, otherwise any bacteria will be 'locked in' and will thrive in the damp condition, leading to further problems.
Clipping any feathered or long hairs will make everything so much easier to manage, using baby oil and a very small amount of diluted vinegar in a spray to balance out the pH value of the skin. (If you have an old bottle of mane and tail conditioner, wash out and use this.) AGAIN, do this ONLY if there are no signs of any sores, otherwise you may have big trouble on your hands, with a very sore, stressed animal with stinging legs!!
If the disease does take on as a mild case, soak the scabs in warm water and remove them with a soft brush or your hands using surgical gloves. This is an essential part of treatment. Use Hibiscrub to treat and sooth the area and leave on for a few minutes to allow the antiseptic to work its magic.
Rinse and finally dry as well as possible, after adding some surgical spirit, this will hopefully keep any major outbreak at bay. All in all, try to keep the affected legs out of muddy wet conditions, and take preventative measures in the lead up to winter weather.
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