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Posted 16th December 2020

‘Mudfever’ or Pastern Dermatitis

Pastern Dermatitis is caused by a weakening of the skin’s protective mechanisms. It can occur at any time of year due to trauma, wetness, parasites, immune conditions, liver disease and photo sensitivity. Bacteria can cause infection resulting in crusting scabs which are slow to heal, painful and can result in more generalised infections such as cellulitis (infection of the deeper tissues).

How Can I Avoid Pastern Dermatitis?

  • Try to keep your horse’s legs clean and dry!
  • Avoid overstocking and poaching of fields.
  • Fence off gateways where the field tends to be most muddy.
  • Stable horses for some of day to allow legs to dry.
  • Brush off legs gently.
  • Ensure mite treatment is administered regularly if the horse is susceptible.
  • Barrier creams are best avoided.

How is Pastern Dermatitis Treated? 

Treatment depends on the inciting causes of the problem. A veterinary examination is advised prior to treatment. We may suggest clipping, cleaning, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory creams, oral antibiotics and/or oral steroids. Sometimes we will suggest further diagnostics such as blood tests, swabs and/or biopsies. 

When Should I Call My Vet?

We are always happy to visit and advise about any skin condition. It is especially important to contact us:

  • If the limb is swollen 
  • If you are concerned your horse is off colour 
  • If your horse is lame 
  • If you have tried treating at home but are not seeing any improvement.

Just remember we are always happy to discuss your horse over the phone so don’t hesitate to contact us.