Mud Fever - Say Goodbye with VetCur
By Cindy VanDerVelden, Stone Hedge Farm Canada
This time of year it is a constant battle with the mud and our horses are at risk of getting mud fever. Mud fever is not a single disease but can come in different forms. The condition occurs especially in warm, wet weather, and is certainly not limited to horses that are paddling in knee-deep mud.
Mud fever starts off with dry crusts, which are caused by the inflamed skin weeping. The condition can range from a mild skin irritation to very painful infected sores, and can in some cases cause significant swelling with severe lameness.
Bacteria live in the soil and spores can survive from year to year. These spores become activated by wet weather, which is why we see the disease when the ground is wet. The bacteria cannot invade healthy skin. During the winter, the snow and wet weather soften the skin by constantly wetting and drying the legs, causing the skin to chap, allowing bacteria to enter. Anything that breaks the skin, such as a small cut or wound, allows the bacteria to invade. For this reason muddy conditions are not always necessary for mud fever to occur.
Some horses seem more prone than others because their skin is a less efficient barrier to infection. For example, horses with white and/or hairless pasterns appear to suffer more, and horses with very hairy legs may suffer less because their skin is better protected. If a horse is suffering from another form of infection, such as chorioptic mange or ringworm, the skin can become damaged and predisposed to a secondary infection. It is important to identify and treat the primary cause.
Bacteria live in the soil as spores which become activated by wet weather, and can invade the skin around the lower legs, causing the crusty sores to form around the pasterns, heels and fetlocks. Horses with white pasterns appear to be more prone to mud fever. Photo: ©Fotolia/Chelle129
The diagnosis of mud fever is usually straightforward and made by identifying the matted hair, crusty scabs and pus on a horse’s leg. Unfortunately, the treatment of this condition is not always as simple. The importance of regularly inspecting the legs to catch the condition early cannot be stressed enough, and as always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The treatment of mud fever begins with thorough washing of the affected areas with an antibacterial shampoo and warm water to remove the crusts and pus which harbour the infection. The shampoo should be worked into a lather and left on for five minutes before rinsing off with warm water. The leg must then be thoroughly dried with a clean towel. It is important to dispose of the scabs properly as they can remain infectious for up to 42 months. The scabs may quickly form again, so initially the legs must be washed daily. It may become necessary to stable the horse with a bad infection to prevent any further wetting or exposure to mud until the skin surface is healed. Once the infection is under control it is imperative to keep on protecting the area until the new skin and hair have formed.
The optimal time to use VetCur products for mud fever is prior to spring/fall, to boost the immune system before the disease has a chance to take hold. VetCur products are 100 percent natural herbal feed products that provide the nutritional tools and building blocks the horse needs to maintain or achieve health and wellness. The products are also effective if used when the horse is experiencing symptoms.
Cur 1 is a complete skin care and protection remedy that can be used every day to obtain and preserve a healthy hair coat. To treat mud fever, use Cur 1 both morning and night, and within one week the growth conditions for microorganisms will be so low that the skin in the treated area will be able to begin the healing process. Continue until the area is completely healed and if necessary, provide support with medical treatment.
Once a horse has suffered an incident of mud fever it is not unusual for the infection to recur. Naturally, it would be better to prevent the infection in the first place, as chronic injury of skin weakens the immune system, which in turn allows natural microorganisms to invade the tissue.
DiVet is a 100 percent natural feed product tailored with specific nutrients to meet the natural biological needs of the equine digestive tract.
ImVet is a 100 percent natural feed product that meets the individual biological needs of the immune system as a whole. One hundred percent natural phyto ingredients support the horse’s ability to resist bacteria and disease, with the added benefit of reducing the use of chemical prescription medications. These products provide optimal nutrition to help strengthen your horse’s immune system against infections.
Stone Hedge Farm Canada is proud to offer VetCur products to the Canadian market. These powerful, innovative natural products are formulated to enhance the lives of your animals, and they will help you develop a nutritional program that provides effective results.
For more information, please visit www.stonehedgefarmcanada.ca.
This information was contributed by Stone Hedge Farm Canada, exclusive Canadian distributor of VetCur Products.