How to Remove the Scabs caused by Mud Fever November 13 2015

Mud fever, the scourge of the autumn and winter, is prevalent during wet and cold conditions.  Horses are very susceptible to it.  It is a very common bacterial infection and affects the lower limbs of horses.  Horses with white legs are particularly susceptible. It starts with wetting and chilling of the limbs and the infection begins in the skin fold at the back of the pastern and spreads from there.  It can begin in other places on the skin of the pastern or the cannon region.

Scabs, which are thick, hairy and painful, form and perhaps the lower leg might swell.  It is not itchy though.  You must remove the scabs so that the treatment can penetrate.  When the scabs are removed, you should use an antibiotic cream and antibacterial skin washes, to kill the bacteria. You must continue with the treatment until everything is better and not stop before.  You should also close clip the affected area, using fine or dog clippers – horse clippers are too large and coarse to clip the hair of the heels well enough.

To remove the scabs, you should first soften the area.  A generous application of baby oil, aqueous cream or Udder cream, should be applied to the skin and then covered with Clingfilm and then covered with a stable bandage.  This will soften the skin after 1 to 3 days.  The Clingfilm and bandage have to be done to floor level or else they will ride up and expose the lower skin crease.  This method of removing the scabs by softening etc. may have to be repeated daily for a few days.

Once the scabs have softened, the area should be washed with an antibacterial scrub – first wet the legs with warm water and then apply the scrub, working in well to loosen any debris and scabs.  Leave the scrub on for 10 minutes to allow bacteria to be killed.  Then wash the legs and dry with a paper towel, thoroughly.  Dispose of the paper towel.  Do not use a proper towel, or else you might re-infect the healing skin.  If you have not already close clipped your horses limbs, it might be a good time to do so.