What is the Best and Worst about owning a Heavy Horse? - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 62 Old 12-12-2012, 06:10 PM
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Is 'scratches' mud fever? Because I definitely agree that health and management are a big part of it, especially here in Scotland where it never stops raining! My last horse was known for mud fever, and had it even in summer when I got him! After months of anal treatment from me, he didn't get it worse than a single scab again - I was on the warpath with the barrier creams and mud boots whenever it rained!

My new horse has a history of mud fever too, and I've been uber prepared for it with my mud boots and barrier cream... and no signs of it at all as yet, despite knee high mud. Fingers crossed!!

But feather removal would definitely help, just so you can get at the skin and treat it... one of the Clydesdales I worked with before had to have his shaved off to treat mites, couldn't get close enough to his skin with them on!!
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post #42 of 62 Old 12-12-2012, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by minstrel View Post
Is 'scratches' mud fever?
....yes ma'am
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post #43 of 62 Old 12-12-2012, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by minstrel View Post
Is 'scratches' mud fever? Because I definitely agree that health and management are a big part of it, especially here in Scotland where it never stops raining! My last horse was known for mud fever, and had it even in summer when I got him! After months of anal treatment from me, he didn't get it worse than a single scab again - I was on the warpath with the barrier creams and mud boots whenever it rained!

My new horse has a history of mud fever too, and I've been uber prepared for it with my mud boots and barrier cream... and no signs of it at all as yet, despite knee high mud. Fingers crossed!!

But feather removal would definitely help, just so you can get at the skin and treat it... one of the Clydesdales I worked with before had to have his shaved off to treat mites, couldn't get close enough to his skin with them on!!

If your area is especially muddy - could you go through and rub their legs down with dry, clean saw dust periodically? I imagine with a good diet and with a few chances for their legs to dry fully to the skin before getting re-wet they should be just fine.

I rub my feathered horse's legs with saw dust regularly,then just wait a few minutes for it to absorb all the moisture and brush it off with a hard brush. I do that after baths too.
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post #44 of 62 Old 12-12-2012, 07:25 PM
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If your area is especially muddy - could you go through and rub their legs down with dry, clean saw dust periodically? I imagine with a good diet and with a few chances for their legs to dry fully to the skin before getting re-wet they should be just fine.

I rub my feathered horse's legs with saw dust regularly,then just wait a few minutes for it to absorb all the moisture and brush it off with a hard brush. I do that after baths too.
I didn't have a stable in my livery for my last horse, so it wasn't an option to leave him in to dry off - he had a couple hours max when I went up after work tied up to dry off, although yes I did use shavings. The stable I have for the new boy is deep litter though, so whilst I have access to clean shavings for drying off, he is standing in deep litter when he's in which isn;t ideal... I have just bought rubber matting to use as bedding instead which will hopefully make a difference. And touch wood, but he hasn;t had it so far!
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post #45 of 62 Old 12-12-2012, 08:44 PM
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I didn't have a stable in my livery for my last horse, so it wasn't an option to leave him in to dry off - he had a couple hours max when I went up after work tied up to dry off, although yes I did use shavings. The stable I have for the new boy is deep litter though, so whilst I have access to clean shavings for drying off, he is standing in deep litter when he's in which isn;t ideal... I have just bought rubber matting to use as bedding instead which will hopefully make a difference. And touch wood, but he hasn;t had it so far!
Shavings are nice for bedding, but they aren't really absorbent - Do you have access to saw dust type bedding? In my area they sell wood pellets (like for wood pellet stoves) but made in all soft wood and they make some brands specifically for horse bedding - but any made with all soft wood is safe. They come in small pellets, but when made wet they fluff up into saw dust, when made wetter than that they clump. This is amazingly awesome for bedding because the clean stuff falls right through the pitch fork and the dirty stuff is clumped so it stays on But it's also incredibly absorbent and fantastic for drying out draft horse feathers. I use it for my mare's bedding, but on muddy days, I'll rub her legs with the pelleted/sawdust bedding, then feed her, then brush it off. :)
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post #46 of 62 Old 12-13-2012, 03:02 AM Thread Starter
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Can someone explain to me what you mean by 'scratches'? I thought it meant getting 'scratched' but it seems to be some sort of condition. Not heard of it in this context.
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post #47 of 62 Old 12-13-2012, 05:19 AM
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Shavings are nice for bedding, but they aren't really absorbent - Do you have access to saw dust type bedding? In my area they sell wood pellets (like for wood pellet stoves) but made in all soft wood and they make some brands specifically for horse bedding - but any made with all soft wood is safe. They come in small pellets, but when made wet they fluff up into saw dust, when made wetter than that they clump. This is amazingly awesome for bedding because the clean stuff falls right through the pitch fork and the dirty stuff is clumped so it stays on But it's also incredibly absorbent and fantastic for drying out draft horse feathers. I use it for my mare's bedding, but on muddy days, I'll rub her legs with the pelleted/sawdust bedding, then feed her, then brush it off. :)
See, I prefer shavings to sawdust, as sawdust on its own is very dusty and not ideal for the respiratory system... and in an American style barn the ventilation isn't quite as good, so sawdust isn't really my have. I do find shavings to be pretty absorbent, that's not the issue, it's that shavings really are best used in a deep litter bed or else you go through a LOT of shavings, but obv deep litter isn't ideal for horses prone to mud fever. The wood pellets sound ideal, will have to have a look at maybe using those alongside my rubber matting once it arrives, although shavings alongside the rubber will be easier to maintain and a lot drier than they are at the moment... Thanks PunksTank (:

Bluebird - I was confused for a moment too, 'scratches' seems to the American term for 'mud fever'.
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post #48 of 62 Old 12-13-2012, 09:27 AM
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yes, I've heard mud fever, scratches and also greasy heel.
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post #49 of 62 Old 12-13-2012, 09:52 AM
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Minstrel - You will find you need way less shavings with good rubber matting though as its so cold here in the winter I still tend to give mine a deep bed - more so than I did in the UK
You could try keeping a bag of sawdust just to rub over the legs
In really bad wet/muddy weather I used to hose their legs off as soon as they came in - no brushing of legs at all - spray over with either an iodine based or hydrogen peroxide (they both treat fungal and bacteria infection) and towel dry - a hair dryer is also a really good way to dry legs off.
Prevention is definitely a lot easier than cure and less painful for the horse
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post #50 of 62 Old 12-13-2012, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Not good to shave the feathers off a heavy! Feathers actually provide a bit of protection from the bacteria so if you own a proper heavy feathered horse, do not shave off feathers unless advised by a vet. You can actually cause more problems than you resolve.Mud fever is a problem in england but good diet and bedding down at night on wood shavings has meant that my Clydesdales have ahd very few problems. Only ever shaved feathers off once on some 'bad advice' from an experienced horse owner (not a heavy horse owner though) when I first got my older boy. Made the problem 10X worse. Never shaved again (advice this time from an old ploughman in the Southern Heavy Horse Association who worked with Shires for 60 years). Never had problems again!
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