Mud Fever and Hoof Abscesses

by / Saturday, 09 February 2013 / Published in Horses, Large Animals, News Archive

If you own horses then the hot humid weather plus the recent floods has probably been a headache for many of you.

Greasy heel/mud fever and foot abscesses thrive in these conditions and can be painful and uncomfortable for your horse

cracked-heelGreasy heel/mud fever.

With the constant moisture and humid conditions the skin over the pasterns and heels become infected, resulting in scabby or weeping lesions which can be very painful. Sometimes the infection extends to the skin further up the legs. White limbs are particularly susceptible. 

The condition can range from a mild skin irritation to very painful infected sores. With severe cases, the skin at the back of the pastern may split open, producing deep horizontal cracks, commonly called cracked heels; scabs will also form in this area. Infection can enter these areas to damaged skin, resulting in a hot, swollen and painful leg and cause severe lameness.

It is preferable to seek veterinary help as in severe cases your horse will need anti-inflammatory medication, pain relief and also sedation to treat the infected area properly.

Hoof abscesses

Hoof abscesses are probably the most common cause of acute lameness in horses.

Excessive moisture as we have experienced recently contribute to weakness in the sole-wall junction (white line) allowing infectious agents such as bacteria or fungal elements to gain entry into the hoof through the white line. If left untreated the abscess will follow the path of least resistance up the hoof wall and rupture at the coronet band. This often leads to a permanent scar in the hoof wall. Another common cause of abscesses is penetration of the sole by a sharp object; infection may also gain entry into the foot by way of a hoof wall crack or multiple old nail holes.

hoof-abscseesMost affected horses show sudden lameness which varies from subtle to non weight bearing and should be treated by a veterinarian. Treatment may involve opening and draining an infection also pain relief, anti inflammatory medication and antibiotics may need to be prescribed.

If your horse has hoof problems and or lameness always seek veterinary advice.

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