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Equine Winter Ailments

29th October 2018

It’s that time of year again when the dreaded Equine Mud Fever starts to rear its ugly head.

The term “Mud Fever” refers to and covers a wide range of skin reactions, it is at its heart caused by something called “dermatophilus congolensis”. This is an infection which tends to lay dormant, until such a time when the skin around the lower limb of the horse becomes more vulnerable. This can occur during prolonged wet period’s such as winter, constant washing of legs, standing in soiled bedding and heavy feathers to name but a few.

The old theory was to wash off the mud every day and dry with a towel or allow to dry naturally. This has changed over the last few years and it is now recommended that legs are allowed to dry naturally (easier to do if your horse is stabled for part of the day or night). As with everything prevention is better than cure, there are many products on the market in the form of boots, powders and creams, designed to act as a barrier on your horses legs against the mud and wet. The main thing is that the legs are kept as clean and dry as possible. Ensure bedding is clean and dry, avoid over washing, and if you choose to bandage ensure the legs are clean and dry first. Use creams and lotions with caution as they may trap in dirt and bacteria.


Should Mud Fever strike, the area as always should be kept as clean and dry as possible, the scabs which form will need to be softened and removed to allow for full treatment of the area, there are many creams on the market designed to target this problem. Once the scabs are removed and the new pink skin is visible the area will need to be cleaned with a mild disinfectant and protected until fully healed.

In severe cases antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may be required, a vet will be able to advise if this course of action is the best. If you are ever unsure then it is always advisable to speak to your vet, a mis-diagnosis may result in incorrect treatment, money wasted on incorrect products and delayed treatment of the problem.

The internet can provide you with a lot of help with ailments but nothing will ever beat your local vet giving you face to face and hands on advice.

Good luck!


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