Mud Fever

Dusty M Yeti

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11 February 2014
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Cambridge
I haven't had a case of mud fever for years but, surprise suprise (!), with the weather this year I have found a patch on each hind leg of one of my mares.

She's quite a sensitive skinned tickly mare anyway and was not happy about me even touching the patches last night let alone letting me rub or soak the scabby bits and being on hind pasterns I was in danger of getting kicked, so have spoken to my vet this morning and ordered a sedalin gel so I can sedate her enough to get a good look and treat it. Vets also said they are happy to provide me with Flamazine cream without seeing the mare (they know me well and have treated my horses for years) so took them up on the offer.

Should I soak the scabs off with just warm water? Hibiscrub solution? Or something else? What is best practice nowadays?

Once scab free I will dry thoroughly and apply cream. She will be in until I can get it healed, fortunately she loves her stable, but what are the best barrier creams to prevent further occurrence once she is back out?
 

Lindylouanne

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2 November 2013
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Dusty DP suffers from mud fever occasionally although amazingly not this year and he is the same in that I can't touch him initially as he is so sensitive. First bout I used Malaseb and it cleared up really well but since then at the first sign I use the Lincoln Muddy Buddy range of cream and it goes within days. My own vets don't like using Hibiscrub as it can be irritate the new skin that is forming under the scabs and they are most insistent that the scabs are not picked off as it can introduce bacteria into the wound which makes the problem worse.
 

ShowJumperL95

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Luckily I have not had to battle with mud fever this year! (yet :D). My boy has quite sensitive legs so I would wash his legs with warm water and hibiscrub, then dry gently with a towel apply some aloe vera gel to the affected areas (I found this helped loosen any left over scabs). As a barrier I used to use Udder Cream can get a big tub that wasn't too expensive and it would last the whole winter. I use mud fever turn out boots this winter and they have been a great buy for my boy.
 

googol

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28 October 2012
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I am inexperienced with mud fever but mine got it this year too. My friend successfully used nizoral shampoo on a mare she treated before. It’s available in boots. So I shampooed for a few days with that and am using baby oil as a barrier. Pig oil and sulphur seemed to make his legs swell badly. Mine had to stay in for a bit after I started treating him but seems to be cleared up now and he’s been out half a dozen times with no issues
 

Lola43

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13 June 2010
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I have two coloured mares with white legs, so it is a constant battle against mud fever. I turn out daily for a minimum of a few hours (in really wet, boggy fields) and this is what works for me. I coat the heels/back of fetlocks liberally with Nettex Muddy Marvel before turnout. When the horses come in, I put Thermatex leg wraps on and leave overnight. I do not wash the legs at all, if I can help it. The next day, when the mud is dry, I brush off. There have been the occasional scabs on their heels, despite my best efforts, but because I am all over their legs on a daily basis, I find them quickly before they turn into anything else. When I find them, I rub/scratch/pull them off and then apply even more Muddy Marvel before turning them out. If anything persists I will wash with hibiscrub - applied neat, allowed to soak for a few minutes and then hosed off and legs then towel dried. I have tried other barrier creams, but the Muddy Marvel seems to work well both preventing and treating. The leg wraps are a hugely time-consuming faff, but I believe that the current thinking is that mud fever is not just constant wetting, but also chilling, so warming/drying the legs is also important. I keep their feathers really short too - I trim regularly with clippers. This stops them from clogging up with mud and means they dry faster. Luckily, both my mares are really very tolerant of all of this - I can't begin to imagine how difficult it would be to deal with if they really objected. Good luck!
 

Sussexbythesea

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I use something like sudocreme / udder cream or similar, slather it on and wrap in cling film and bandage overnight and then gently rub the scabs off. They are very sore so I’m not surprised they don’t want us to touch them. I’ve seen someone knocked over and trampled in an attempt to get away from having their scabs removed so be very careful.

If they don’t come off easily just apply more cream and repeat. For the odd small scab I just rub in cream on and around it to loosen the scab but try not to keep washing.
 

Shay

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17 August 2008
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I have a white legged cob who is very prone. Personally I find hibiscrub too strong and too stingy for the horse. I opt for the slather in cream and clingfilm approach too - but for 2 hours, not over night. I've found gallop medicated shampoo very effective - but I suspect anything with tea tree oil in would work. Then once the legs are clear pig oil & sulphur. Not applied to already scabby legs - they'll swell!
 

Pinkvboots

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I would not try and remove any scabs as then you are just exposing the sore skin and letting more bacteria in I wouldn't keep washing the legs either just put some sort of barrier cream on them and leave well alone, I find it then clears up on it's own without much interference scabs form for a reason to protect the skin it amazes me why people then want to pull or pick them off.
 

Northern Hare

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15 October 2012
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My horse recently had a patch of mud fever from his hind fetlock all the way up the outside of his cannon to his hock. I tried all the usual remedies that have worked for him in the past (Nizoral shampoo, Protocon, Flamazine, Nettex Muddy Marvel ointment). The scabs weren’t all that deep but covered most of the area and he was very sore with it but fortunately doesn’t kick. Having used almost a whole large tub of Flamazine with no success, our vet recommended applying a hefty layer of Vaseline to the scabs to loosen them - it worked a treat and after a couple of hours of leaving the Vaseline to soak in, the scabs were loosened and easily came off. I then applied a load of flamazine, and bandaged loosely over fresh gamgee. The next day, his leg was so much better. With all of the Vaseline, his skin was well moisturised, and touch wood it’s been fine since. Having tried so many different treatments / remedies this time, I’ll certainly be using the Vaseline approach in future - it’s lovely and cheap as well!
 

Ruby's Mum

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6 March 2018
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191
My new mare arrived with the worst case I've ever seen. Vets came out and gave me flamazine, I've used muddy marvel de scab, rinsed the legs in warm water, towel dried and then put the flamazine on. Massive improvement. I've also got muddy marvel barrier cream to go on when she goes out. My mare has been very difficult (kicking) due to the severity of it and I found I could just get away with doing one leg per day rather than tackling all at once, with the help of a handler.
 

Dusty M Yeti

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11 February 2014
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Cambridge
Thanks for all the advice above....just thought I'd update.

Sedated her with sedalin so I could have a really good look and gave the legs a really good wash with mild hibiscrub and warm water so I could really see what I was dealing with, some of the scabs rubbed off during this but I didn't pick any off that didn't want to come. As per most of the advice above I haven't washed them since then but have been applying the Flamazine daily, this really seems to have got on top of the infection and she is now happy for me to touch the area, it's obviously not so sore, and the remaining scabs have softened and fallen off. Have got a barrier cream to apply once it's all healed.

Hopefully the weather will dry up soon and I will have mud free paddocks again :)
 

wickedwilfred

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2 August 2010
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45
My experiences with Mud Fever is that it comes and goes depending on how wet is the winter. My vet prescribed Flamazine but the trouble is it tingles when you put it on and although you can apply it the first time, the horse reacts badly when you try to do so again. I mix up a bottle of Liquid Paraffin and Hibiscrub (9 parts to 1 as Hibiscrub is quite caustic). Hose the legs down to clean as much as possible and if it’s on hind legs I get someone to hold up a front leg while I apply it ! You have to remove the scabs in order to get rid of it - that’s the tricky bit - but I have discovered that if I apply the mix with the aid of a long brush the horse doesn’t seem to react so badly. Having the mix in an old washing up liquid bottle, so you can squirt it on also helps.
 
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