24th November 2017
With the wetter weather comes an increased incidence of mud fever.
Equine pastern dermatitis as it is called by vets is very common in horses kept in wet and muddy conditions. The dermatitis is secondary to damage of the skin barrier allowing bacteria to enter. Damage to the skin can occur as a result of moisture from wet mud, sweat, mites, photosensitisation and disruption to the normal immune system.
Pastern dermatitis usually starts at the back of the heels and pasterns and extends up the leg. Small dry scab can develop into multiple discharging lesions with lower limb swelling. Often it leaves matted areas of hair which when picked leave ulcerated, moist lesions which can be very sore and itchy.
Management involves keeping the skin clean and dry. Keeping horses box rested for periods to allow the legs to dry is important. If caught early a change in management may be sufficient to resolve the condition.
Treatment can be time consuming and repetitive:
  1. Clip the affected area
  2. Bathe with disinfectant/antiseptic shampoo
  3. Allow to soak in and carefully remove all crusts and scabs
  4. Rinse thoroughly
  5. Dry carefully
  6. Apply antibacterial and steroid treatment
  7. Repeat!
It is important to identify and treat all possible underlying causes. Some cases may be suffering from feather mites or photosensitisation. This is where the mud fever is only found on white haired areas only. Occasionally horses will need systemic antibiotics if cellulitis is present concurrently.
If you have any question please do not hesitate in calling the practice for advice on 01939260251