Mud fever? Or another infection?

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Mud fever? Or another infection?

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    01-11-2013, 09:14 AM
Exclamation Mud fever? Or another infection?

Hi I posted a thread back in september about my 17 year old Belgian draft mare having hideous mud fever. She has had this infection for about 9 months now, luckily 3 of her feet now seem cured, but the last one just won't budge. She's seen the vet plenty of times and has had several courses of antibiotics until the course runs out. I'm starting to wonder whether this really is mud fever anymore. There's no scabbing, just folds of raw skin that just oozes pus and sebum. It absolutely stinks! It's yellow in colour and when washed, the skin is bright pink. I've been washing it with salt water and sometimes anti bacterial hand wash as hibiscrub and diluted iodine are both too strong and seem to make it more sore. I've tried every cream and potion, I've tried poulticing, I've tried not washing it to give the skin a chance to heal but it just gets worse.
She's a heavy draft but the feathers are clipped, I've been drying with green paper towels after washing. She's stabled, and hasn't seen mud for 6 months...what am I doing wrong?? :(

If anyone has had similar problems I'd like to know I'm not alone! Everyone just says 'pick scabs off and wash with hibiscrub, at worse use antibiotics' Nothing says what to do when the worst case scenario is untreatable!

She stocks up too unless I ride every day/couple of days

Thanks, Beth
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    01-11-2013, 09:22 AM
Green Broke
You may be dealing with either one of these:

Equine Chronicle Cellulitis and Lymphangitis in Horses

I would have thought the antibiotics would have worked.

It might be time to get a second opinion, which might be hauling her to the nearest equine university if there is one not too far away

Also, by this time, her immune system is in the terlet and she is much less able to fight off what is wrong.

There's also the possibility of contacting a vet in your area that also uses hollistic/herbal methods, for help.

I am a firm believer in the hollistic approach when all else fails. I have my own horse experiences to back that up but the person making the decisions really needs to know what they're doing
    01-11-2013, 10:47 PM
Lots of things it could be.



This is probably not it but still...
    01-12-2013, 05:51 AM
Thanks for your responses. The Cellulitus does tick alot of it is only one leg, and both the back ones are stocked up, I'll mention it to the vet. As for mange etc, it doesn't look like whats on the pictures, its not dry or flaky at all, although she has suffered from mites and lice before but I'm pretty sure that's under control now, I haven't seen anything crawling for a long time!
I rang the vet yesterday, described what's going on and he said it's no longer mud fever but a secondary infection. The mud fever has weakened the skins resistance and it's infected with some other bug now.
I also checked her other legs yesterday (They were completely healed months ago) and found the back right is infected with scabby mud fever again...?? She hasn't seen mud for 6 months! :(
I've also heard that copper dificiancy can cause mud fever and immune problems. The cows on the farm she's on have suffered from it before, apparently the soil is lacking in this important element. Although she doesn't have a curly coat or any obvious signs, I think I'll ask the vet about it... We'll see what he says on monday- I'll keep you posted x
    01-12-2013, 10:19 AM
Green Broke
The cows on the farm she's on have suffered from it before, apparently the soil is lacking in this important element.

That most likely means the soil is very high in iron. Iron also depletes zinc which is another crucial element for the immune system.

The soil my area of the SE United States is very high in iron and I am more than happy to blame it as the reason for two of my horses developing metabolic issues after we moved here.

Until last year, I bought my hay only five miles away. Tests always showed it to be high in iron, low in copper and zinc

It might be worth your time and $$ to consult with an equine nutritionist at a university closest to you as my guess is your vet will want to "up the anty" on steroids.

Vets do the best they can and don't always have the finite answers to each and every issue they come upon. We often have to grab hold of those reins and take the lead

My thought is nothing will resolve itself until you get to the real root cause; if it does turn out to be the soil, then a nutritionist could help you figure out the supplements and quantities your mare needs to have to keep her healthy.

Yes, please keep updating
acorn likes this.
    01-12-2013, 01:09 PM
Have you tried a steroids cream with gentomicin? My vet makes this cream, and it is all I have found that works on my horse's chronic scratches. Antibiotics have always done next to nothing for his scratches, same with zinc oxide, etc.
Ask your vet if he has a water based gentomicin cream he can prescribe for you. As well with the washing, try to limit the amount of washing you are doing. What is your bedding? Sawdust always flares up my horse's scratches. He does far better on coarse shavings or straw.
I also agree with the zinc and copper supplementation. Where do you guys find a supplement without iron in it? I could ever find one..
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walkinthewalk likes this.
    01-12-2013, 01:15 PM
The only thing I found to work was Vasaline, and did not pick the scabs.
That is if it is mudfever/scratches.
    01-12-2013, 01:59 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
I also agree with the zinc and copper supplementation. Where do you guys find a supplement without iron in it? I could ever find one..
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A few years back I had purchased a copper/zinc product from Uckele. It stunk to the heavens and there was nothing I could do to get my horses to eat even the small, recommended, amount

I just looked at Uckele's website and I don't see the product anymore so either I'm looking in the wrong place or they no longer carry it.

Kaufman's might be a possibility. Copper & Zinc for Horses | Kauffman's Animal Health

I know one thing --- when I Googled "copper and zinc supplements for horses" boy did the hits come up

It makes me wonder if, with all the immune system issues so many horses seem to have, that our soils are more depleted of valuable minerals than we realize?
    01-12-2013, 02:25 PM
Also, If you are feeding hay only have have no green grass, Check that the horse is getting right around 100,000 UI of Vit A a day. Sho Glow I believe provides this amount as well as mare plus. If there green grass is gone, many times horses become deficient and without A, the skin is very susceptible to disease. Its an easy thing to tick off the list.
    01-12-2013, 02:44 PM
Yes walkinthewalk, I'd love to test the hay but I don't support the horse financially. My boss does, and he's VERY difficult when it comes to this sort of thing :( and it's easy to say try and talk to him for the horses sake but that's easier said than done! I've been rambling on about getting scrapings of her foot for analizing but he just will not have it because it's so expensive. I doubt he'll test the hay.
I will definitely talk to the vet about copper and zinc (My boss listens to the vet) because it's definitely one of the biggest factors in this sort of immune problem. Considering there's been a difficiency here on THIS farm before it's just obvious to anyone with half a brain that it must be part of, if not all of the problem...
I went out and washed all of her legs today in readiness for clipping tomorrow and what do I find? Scabby mud fever! On all three of the ones that were cured so long ago. I haven't used vaseline to get the scabs off before, I just use very hot water and let it soak with teatree oil or hibi scrub. If its really solid scabs I've mixed cooking oil with aloe vera gel, lavender and teatree oil before to make a soothing mixture. I then apply to her legs and leave on for a day or two (It doesn't hurt!). Then wash them with hot dilute hibiscrub and the scabs come right off.
I know vets do often try to counter act the problem by going straight to the symptoms and relive them with creams, potions and usually, antibiotics, which in most cases would work. But causes in relation to diet and nutrition (trace elements in the grass the horse is eating for example) are usually a bit of a grey area.
I'm certain this is diet related. Thanks for your replies, I feel a little less insane now!
walkinthewalk likes this.

inflamed, mud fever, puss, skin infection, sore

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