Wet weather means our yards and fields are getting more and more muddy by the second! This means many horse owners are struggling with skin conditions on their horses and ponies developed by standing in boggy conditions.
A common winter related condition is pastern dermatitis, mud rash or mud fever which causes painful skin irritation and infected sores that can cause swelling in the limb and even lameness!
The bacteria which typically causes skin conditions include Dermatophilus congolensis, Staphylococci or Streptococci which resides in soil as spores and then becomes active in wet weather. The bacteria can enter the body through small cuts which can occur due to constant wind and rain softening the skin leading to painful sores and scabs developing. This most commonly affects the pastern and heel area of the horse.
How you can protect your horse from muddy conditions
- Try to keep exposure to wet muddy conditions to a minimum – reduce turn out time if your field is particularly boggy or see if you can swop to a less wet field. Consider placing hardcore or woodchip in your gateways to help absorb water – a great idea for horses who love to wait by the gate before dinner time!
- If your horse or pony typically suffers from mud-related conditions, once you have removed the scabs clip around the lesions to stop bacteria building up in fluffy fetlocks.
- When you bring your horse in for the night, dry his limbs and use a medicated spray or cream to help fight infection and soothe the skin. Using a health supplement is also a great way to boost the equine immunity to skin problems.
- Scientific Nutritional Products make a great product called ’Mud Manager’ which helps to improve your horse’s skin and coat condition – perfect for Cracked and Sore Skin. It works by helping mud related conditions from the inside out with a formula packed full of Zinc, MSM, Biotin, Methionine, Protein and Omega-3. It soothes cracked and sore skin and encourage the natural regeneration of skin and hair in the affected area.