The pasterns on your horse looks to be inflammed from "scratches", I had a horse that got that now and then, it can be painful to the horse, here is a pretty good article.... Scratches
(also known as pastern dermatitis, greasy heel or mud fever)
- What you see: red, irritated skin with crusted, raised scabs just above the heels of both hind legs, or rarely, on a single leg or the forelegs.
- Is it contagious? No, but it's usually complicated by bacterial infection.
- Cause: Scratches starts as chapping that is generally brought on by a cycle of alternating wet and dry weather conditions common in late winter and spring. Once the skin becomes cracked and sore, however, bacteria, mites and/or plant irritants often complicate the situation.
- Pertinent facts: Scratches almost always occurs on both hind legs, below and behind the ankle. If scabs appear on only one hind leg or on a front leg, consider the possibility that you're dealing with an injury rather than pastern dermatitis.
- Treatment: Areas affected by scratches are often very tender, so be especially careful when working on or around them. Start by washing the affected spot with warm water and shampoo. Once the area is dry, gently clip the hair around the scabs and apply Desitin, ichthammol, petroleum jelly or another lubricating wound ointment sold at pharmacies. Reapply the ointment every day or so until all the scabs loosen and fall away. NOTE: Avoid repeatedly washing the leg, which will encourage more chapping. If the treated area becomes dirty, use a clean cloth to wipe off the soiled ointment and reapply a fresh coat.
- Prevention: Mud, which harbors a variety of bacteria, and moisture are the main culprits in aggravated scratches. For example, the condition is common in draft horses with feathered lower legs; the long, thick hairs trap moisture, which softens and weakens the skin and allows bacteria or fungi to gain a foothold. If your horse is susceptible to scratches, do your best to keep him in a dry environment during the scratches season, winter or spring in most climes. Clipping excessive lower leg hair, particularly on a draft breed or draft-cross, may minimize the risk of scratches or make treatment easier should the problem develop. Finally, it may help to keep a protective coating of ointment on the heels of chronic scratches sufferers.
And for sheath cleaning, I always had my vet do it. But of course you can do it yourself too. My gelding's would get real bad tho, and he would get a dark discharge, I didn't think your horse's looked that bad, but it may not be a bad idea to have your vet take a look.
And I would definitely take the bell boots off the horse ASAP.
Last edited by Remali; 02-14-2009 at 11:00 PM.