Mud Fever in Horses

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 prevalent during wet and muddy conditions. As most parts of the UK are currently experiencing incredibly wet weather, which has created horribly muddy turnout fields, most horse owners will have a mud fever worrying nag at the back of their minds. 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 prolonged periods in deep mud or water.

Soggy bedding

Sharing grooming equipment or tack contaminated by the infectious organism

Hairy legs that aren't allowed to dry properly are a wonderful breeding ground for the mud fever bacteria

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, 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.