With the Winter upon us here in the UK this means colder and wetter weather. With each season different challenges present themselves to us as horse owners and the winter means mud! This can compromise the health of the skin and the hooves alongside presenting a management challenge! Scientific Nutritional Products takes a look in our latest blog…
The horse’s hoof is composed of a similar complex as our finger nails and technically the hooves are actually considered to be an extension of the skin! This means the hooves can be prone to becoming brittle, cracking, splitting and even more so when exposed to the winter elements.
The wet to dry conditions common in wintertime causes the hoof capsule to change shape. Firstly the Keratin molecules in the hoof swell and absorb water expanding, followed by during drier weather spells only to dry out, contract and change shape again, this can damage the integrity of the hoof.
The skin can also be affected as the wind and rain and mud saturation can result in pastern dermatitis, also known as mud fever. Mud- related skin condition can cause painful skin irritation and infected sores that can result in swelling of the limb and even lameness!
Pastern Dermatitis is caused by a bacteria which resides in soil as spores, and then becomes active in wet weather. The bacteria enters the body through small cuts which generally occur due to wind, rain or horse owners washing our horse’s legs and softening the skin. These small cuts, once the bacteria has entered the body can then turn into painful sores and scabs as the infection spreads. This skin condition most commonly affects the pastern and heel area of the horse - hence it’s descriptive name!
So how do we combat these mud-related winter problems?
Top Tips from Scientific Nutritional Products for Managing with Mud!
1.) 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 saturated field. Consider placing hardcore or woodchip in your gateways to help absorb water and stop saturated feet – a great idea for horses who love to wait by the gate before dinner time!
2.) When you bring your horse from his turnout time, dry his limbs carefully with a clean towel and where required use a medicated spray or a cream to help fight infection and soothe the skin. 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 coats around the legs.
3.) Scientific Nutritional Products offer a unique supplement 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 beneficial ingredients including 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.
For more information on our supplement range or to receive one-to-one advice specific to your horse contact our nutritional specialists on FREEPHONE 0800 032 7774 or Tel: 01377 254900 or visit our website www.horsesupplementsdirect.co.uk.
For articles and info on equestrian matters please visit www.pegasus-magazine.co.uk . This is the website of the UK’s Pegasus Magazine. Visit http://pegasus-magazine.co.uk/magazine to find out more and read articles.