At this time of year we are all struggling with the weather, constant rain and wind, making our lives in the equine world challenging to say the least! Most horse owners groan if you mention the dreaded words “mud fever” and here are some useful Do’s & Don’ts advice from vets to help prevent the condition.

  1. DON’T wash your horses’ legs off with cold water – horse skin HATES cold water, you are better to let the mud dry on and then brush it off. If you have access to warm water use that instead.
  2. DO make sure your horses’ legs are dry thoroughly – special leg wraps are available, towel drying or even a hair dryer on the warm NOT hot setting can be used. Leaving them cold AND wet is not advised.
  3. DO pick the scabby bits off if you can – the bacteria (Dermatophilus congolensis) loves to live in the ooze under the scabs, so if you can pick them off (horse permitting) then it can help to speed up the healing process. Softening the scabs first can help: a warm hibiscrub wash or applying Flamazine cream then putting stable bandages on top to help warm the leg/s up.
  4. DO use silver based creams – like Flamazine, it is very effective against mud fever bacteria.
  5. DO contact your vet if you are struggling to manage the condition, bad cases can make your horse lame, cause swelling to start in the lower leg and can occasionally lead to more complicated conditions like cellulitis, there are some products out there which can be purchased off the shelf but take advice to ensure they will do the right job.
  6. Remember that there are some skin conditions that look like mud fever but are actually other problems. If the mud fever isn’t responding to treatment as you would expect then always get your vet to have a look.

If you are concerned about your horses welfare whether it be Mud Fever or anything else, contact your vet immediately.

This article is meant as a guide and doeas not cover all related conditions accociated with horses welfare during the winters months and mud fever.