MUD FEVER – Vast treatments and preventions in stock!!
Mud fever is known in the veterinary world as equine pastern dermatitis.This means an inflammation of the skin in the pastern area. This inflammation can be due to a number of causes, though the symptoms are normally similar.
It is most commonly a bacterial infection of Dermatophilus Congolensis (also responsible for rain scald). This bacteria thrives in wet muddy conditions and lies dormant (as spores) in the skin until it’s compromised. The spores also live in the environment and are activated by wet weather.
The skin can be compromised by a variety of causes, listed below. The infection spreads to surrounding areas via thread-like tentacles radiating from the source.
Areas of matted hair
Circular ulcerated moist lesions
Creamy, white, yellowish or green discharge
Scabs with a curved underside, hair roots protruding through
Cracks or fissures in the skin
Heat, swelling and pain
In severe cases: lethargy, depression and loss of appetite
Causes of skin compromise
Cuts, wounds bites and abrasions – some of which can be caused by ill-fitting boots, chaffing from grit or sand, or excessive grooming.
Prolonged exposure to the damp, especially in mild weather (some sources say cold)
Standing in deep mud or soiled bedding
Constant washing of limbs, without drying
Excessive sweating (under rugs or tack)
Unhealthy skin or a poor immune system predisposes horses to acquiring infections
White limbs are at higher risk, possibly as they are more likely to be sun-damaged
Affected areas are normally not itchy, unless parasites are involved
Some sources say that a combination of having cold and wet legs compromises the skin the most
Having feathers is not a risk as long as they are correctly managed and properly cleaned and dried. It will be harder for you to keep their legs dry with long feathers – wicking bandages may help Thermatex make some. Shaving off feathers may cause the underlying skin to be irritated and or may allow mud closer to the skin so may perpetuate the problem. However, trimming them (but not all the was to the skin) may help, different sources conflict on this point. I advise you to decide what length of feathers you can best keep dry and use that length.
Products for prevention which may help:
Products for treatment:
Other causes of pastern dermatitis can be from a mite infection, a fungal infection (including ringworm) or an auto-immune problem (where the body’s immune system attacks the skin).