Mud Fever Products
Mud Fever and Cracked heels are both descriptions of a bacterial infection of the lower leg that is caused when a particular bacteria, Dermatophilus congolensis, enters into the body through cracks in the skin. If the skin doesn’t break the bacteria cannot get in and the horse will not contract mud fever, a very painful condition that can cause lameness.
The main aim of horse care during the winter, especially for horses and ponies that are turned out or work in muddy ground, should be to prevent breaking of the skin. The main causes of skin disruption can be assumed to be chapping and injury e.g. cuts/abrasions and therefore to prevent these will reduce the risk of infection.
Complete prevention of mud fever may require a several pronged approach, depending on the horses previous susceptibility to infection.
1. Keep legs free from mud by using turnout socks, mud fever chaps e.g the Equilibrium Close Contact Chaps or Shires Mud Socks or high/dry ground where possible so the horse isn't standing in mud all day.
Barrier creams are also very helpful to keep water and mud off the skin during exercise, such as Muddy Marvel, Lincoln Muddy Buddy and Protection Plus.
2. If legs get muddy try not to wash them off, especially not with a hard brush as this will damage the skin. If legs need to be washed dry them thoroughly, use powders, such as Lincoln Muddy Buddy powder or Keratex Mudshield to protect the skin and perhaps use stable wraps or bandages to prevent chapping. The ideal option is to let the mud dry and brush it off.
3. Ensure that the diet you are feeding provides optimum minerals and supports the digestive system, which enables the body to produce strong, healthy skin. Options include Global Herbs Globalvite and Mud X, Brewers yeast and NAF Love the Skin range, plus the new Hilton Herbs Mud Defender.