Mud Fever, also known as greasy heel or dermatophilosis, is a skin infection caused by Dermatophilous Congolensis, a micro-organism that is best described as a cross between a bacteria and a fungus. The organism is a normal inhabitant of the skin of horses. For an infection to occur, two predisposing factors must be present:
Un-pigmented skin (white socks) are more susceptible to mud fever because of the damaging effect of solar dermatitis. Rain Scald is another name given to an infection by the same organism where the lesions are distributed over the body, neck and head.
The infection is characterized by crust (scab) formation with or without swelling of the surrounding area. The crusts characteristically adhere to clumps of hair so when they are removed, the matted hairs come with them. Often the skin below is inflamed and oozes serum. There is usually swelling of the pastern and lameness may be a feature.
Dermatophilous congonlensis is susceptible to anti-bacterial agents containing chlorhexidine, but because it lives on the skin underneath the matted crusts, it is important that these are first removed. This process can be uncomfortable for a horse, so it helps to first soften them with warm soapy water. Fungal Cleansing Shampoo is ideal to use, wash and wait, then rinse and towel dry.
The skin should be washed with an appropriate anti-bacterial agent such as Reynards Antibacterial Wash as it contains Chlorhexidine, known to kill dermatophilious, with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E which is kind to skin,then leave to dry. A small, soft brush or sponge is ideal to use.
An ointment such as Equifix Skin Repair can then be applied.
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Equifix Skin Repair Cream- With high grade emu oil for skin irritations
Fungal Shampoo - relieves minor fungal and bacterial skin infections