Muddy Matters!

After the recent downpours nationwide, many stable yards have become significantly muddier and for those turning their horses out regularly, the battle to manage ground conditions can be challenging. Slippery surfaces and boggy gateways can in some cases lead to mud related skin conditions such as mud fever; formally known as pastern dermatitis.

Pastern dermatitis can occur in any equine breed, but it is most common in draft breeds or horses or ponies generally with heavily feathered limbs that can trap moisture. Horses with white legs may also be more susceptible as unpigmented skin is more sensitive.

The signs of pastern dermatitis vary depending on the root cause and how progressed the condition is. Horses with pastern dermatitis usually exhibit patchy red skin followed by oozing and crusting erosions of the skin. In some cases the limb can also become swollen. The horse or pony’s skin skin can be itchy and sensitive and in more severe cases lameness can be observed.

When considering treatment for Mud fever it is generally recommended to clip the limbs of a horse or pony that suffers. Long feathers take much longer to dry off and when the skin is wet it will soften; increasing the risk of cuts and abrasions which will make it easier for the bacteria found in mud to penetrate. If mud fever is detected minimising exposure to the mud and keeping the limbs as dry as possible whilst they heal is essential alongside consulting the veterinarian as to the use of a medicated spray or cream. Some horse owners use turnout boots to protect the limbs but it is vital these are correctly applied to stop mud entering the boot and that the boots are kept clean.

Mites can be highly irritating and cause the horse or pony to itch and create damage resulting in thickening of the skin, predisposing it to bacterial entry. Often mud fever will not improve if the mites aren’t treated as well so if mites are suspected it is essential to consult a vet who will be able to, via a dermal skin scrapes, treat the problem.

Mud Manager Supplement brought to you by Scientific Nutritional Products can help to improve your equine's skin and coat condition. This innovative product helps mud related conditions from the inside out by offering a nutrient dense supplement for skin health and sore skin prevention. Mud Manager contains Zinc, MSM, Biotin, Methionine, key proteins and Omega-3 helping to soothe cracked and sore skin and encourage natural regeneration of skin and hair in affected areas. Available from or for more information Tel: freephone 0800 032 7774 to speak to a member of our team.

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