The organism enters the bloodstream via broken skin, anywhere on the body but particularly through the feet, and is exacerbated when the horse stands in mud or soiled bedding for prolonged periods.
It can also be caused by over-washing of limbs and not drying them properly; excessive sweating under rugs or tack; or friction and chafing from overreach boots or wrongly fitted bandages.
Mud Fever can be a seriously debilitating infection.
Here are our handy pointers for treatment....
If you can't prevent the onset of mud fever then how it is treated is key to how quickly the condition can be cured and the skin healed. Obviously not all cases respond to off the shelf topical remedies and therefore prolonged, severe cases may require the attention of a veterinary surgeon as Mud Fever is a very painful condition.
The popular treatment for mud fever involves removal of scabs, scrubbing with Triscrub and then the application of an antibacterial cream. However bearing in mind the soreness related to the condition scab removal can be very stressful, dangerous and painful. The easiest way of removing scabs involves a product like Protection Plus or Muddy Marvel Descab (both are antibacterial) being smeared over the area followed by wrapping with cling film and then the application of a bandage. Once bandaged, leave overnight and in the morning the scabs will be soft enough to just come away. An antibacterial cream should then be used to prevent the bacteria growing under the warm bandage.
Scrubbing of the legs should be done sparingly as products like Triscrub actually remove the cells that are trying to regrow and therefore prolong healing. If the legs must be washed then sensitive skin soap is the best option as it is least damaging. If the area is very dirty prior to treatment then a disinfectant wash can be used.
Using turnout socks at this stage is unadvisable as the bacteria will thrive in the warm, moist environment within the boots, these are really only useful as a preventative measure.
The biggest problem is cross contamination. Always wear latex gloves and discard each glove after use on the legs. Do NOT put dirty gloves into pots of cream as this is the quickest way to make Mud Fever spread.
SEE ALSO OUR BLOG ABOUT RAIN SCALD!