How to recognise mud fever!

Mud Fever is a common term used to describe an infection of the skin found mainly in the lower legs of our horses. As the name suggests, this infection caused by bacteria or fungal organisms, also known as pastern dermatitis, is more likely to occur during wet and muddy conditions. The recent wet weather has created muddy fields and most horse owners will start to worry that the dreaded mud fever might make an appearance. However, mud isn't the only cause of mud fever.


Common Causes of Mud Fever:

Washing your horses legs too often and not drying them

Standing for long periods in deep mud or water.

Soggy wet bedding

Sharing grooming equipment or tack

Hairy legs that aren't dried properly can also be a breeding ground for mud fever


Signs Your Horse May Have Mud Fever:

Crusty scabs

Open sores

A weeping greenish/yellowish discharge

Hair loss

The area is painful to the touch

Swollen legs


Your horse may also present with more severe symptoms such as:





Loss of Appetite

If you suspect your horse has mud fever, consult your vet. However, prevention is always better than cure so where possible try to keep your horses legs dry, do not over-wash them, clip hairy legs if possible, don't share grooming products or tack, don't use boots that will cause excessive sweating or rubs and try to keep your horses stable as dry and clean as possible.