An article produced by Three Counties Equine Hospital
Mud fever is a common skin condition caused by the soil bacterium Dermatophilus congolensis. The bacterium penetrates skin damaged by abrasion and /or wet conditions.
The lower legs – at the back of the pastern, are typically affected. When present on the neck and back, the infection is termed rain scald. Affected inflamed skin oozes, leading to scabby tufts of hair. More severe cases may develop swelling, pain and lameness. Conditions which may appear similar, include lice, mites, ringworm and chemical infection.
Treatment of cases involves:
• Ensure current tetanus prophylaxis
• Wear gloves
• Remove mud
• Clipping hair from the affected area is beneficial in some cases
• Sedation may be required
• Soak and massage the area using an antibacterial solution eg. chlorhexidine (Hibiscrub – 1:40 in warm water)
• Leave on for 10 minutes to soften and loosen scabs, allowing their removal.
• Wash off the antibacterial solution with warm water
• Dry the area thoroughly
• Apply a barrier antibiotic cream, fuciderm or our own brand (Three Counties Equine Hospital) of mud fever cream
• Repeat this procedure twice daily, reducing frequency as the condition improves Mud fever is difficult to prevent, as it can be to treat:
• Use the driest paddocks, fencing off muddy areas
• Stabling or manege turnout reduces exposure to mud
• Check you horse daily for early signs, parting the hair and inspecting the skin
• Begin treatment at the earliest signs of mud fever
If the condition is severe or persists, consult TCEH for advice. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medication may be prescribed.
Article reproduced by permission of Three Counties Equine Hospital,
Stratford Bridge, Ripple, Tewkesbury, Glos. GL20 6HE
Tel. 01684 592099
Fax. 01684 592181