How to Prevent Mud Fever


Mud fever is a common condition that affects the lower limbs of equines, most typically affecting the back of the pastern. It commonly occurs in wet 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.

A mixture of various bacteria and fungi causes mud fever, however Staphylococcal bacteria is the most common cause. Mud fever seems to affect white and pink skinned horses and those with hairy feathers more. There are no clear reasons for this.

We have just come through a very wet winter – continue to prevent mud fever through Spring with our top tips:

Groomers Top 10 Tips for Mud Fever Prevention

  1. Try not to hose down your horse’s legs. Instead, allow the mud to dry, and then gently brush it off with a dandy brush.
  2. If you must wash the legs, wash with Hibiscrub, which features antibacterial properties, and ensure you dry the legs thoroughly after bathing.
  3. If at all possible, keep your horse away from muddy fields and long grass, and try to exercise grass management.
  4. Fence off standing water or any areas that become particularly muddy.
  5. Inspect your horse’s legs daily for early signs of infection.
  6. Dry pasterns with a paper towel after riding.
  7. Use a barrier cream to dry, clean skin prior to exercise or turnout to prevent the skin’s exposure to bacteria.
  8. Ensure all bedding is clean and dry.
  9. If bandaging before exercise, ensure legs are clean and dry, and remove promptly when finished.
  10. Consider a nutritional supplement for skin health, such as Groomers Equaderm Supplement with Evening Primrose Oil.

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