How to Treat Mud Fever

Mud fever is a common condition that affects the lower limbs of equines, most typically on the back of the pastern. It occurs in wet, muddy conditions. Initially the infection starts as matted hair and crusty, scabbed and inflamed skin. As the condition progresses, mud fever can cause anything from swelling to severe lameness.

While prevention is better than cure with mud fever, this is unfortunately not always possible, especially in winter. Following on from our item on mud fever prevention, here are our top tips on treating mud fever.

  1.      Eliminate any predisposing factors. This is a vital element when treating mud fever. Practise paddock rotation, and erect fences to stop your horse from standing on muddy ground.
  2.      Trim the hair around the affected area. You can do this with clippers or scissors, but take care not to traumatise the skin. You should also ensure that you sterilise your tools after use.
  3.      Soak the matted area in soapy water. Do this for up to 30 minutes to soften any crusty areas, then gently remove them from the horse’s skin.
  4.      Use Hibiscrub on the affected area. Apply Hibiscrub and leave for 10 minutes to work. Afterward, rinse the area and pat dry with a clean towel, ensuring it is completely dry.
  5.      Apply mud fever ointment. You could additionally try using moisture repelling products such as Vaseline around the affected area.
  6.      Exercise stable management. Ensure you stable your horse with a clean, dry bed while he has mud fever. Cardboard or paper bedding is ideal here – avoid shavings as they can easily stick to any wounds.
  7.      Avoid using any items that could increase moisture retention, such as leg wraps. This could exacerbate and prolong the infection.
  8.      With severe cases of mud fever, consult your vet. If your horse has a very swollen or lame leg, you must seek advice from your vet, as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories may be required.

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