As the names of these conditions suggest mud fever and rain scald both occur in wet conditions. Rain scald and mud fever in horses are caused by bacteria which enter the skin through small cuts and grazes. If your horse is exposed to prolonged rain then the skin will soften resulting in higher susceptibility to both rain scald and mud fever.
Mud Fever in Horses
• Mud fever develops on the horse’s legs and can range from slight irritation to open sores.
• Mud fever can also cause swelling, painful legs and can result in lameness.
• Horses with white legs are the most likely to get mud fever because pink skin is more vulnerable than dark skin.
• Look out for the first signs of irritation, usually small sores that scab over, if you see any signs then you should get your vet’s advice immediately.
• The most likely advice you will receive will be to stable your horse for a while. You should clip the affected area with scissors with curved blades; a lot of horses will not tolerate clippers on painful areas.
• You will need to be very careful when doing this because even the kindest of horses might lash out if caused any pain or discomfort.
• Your vet will be able to suggest an appropriate antiseptic to remove the scabs. If scabs are not removed then the bacteria will multiply underneath.
• You will need to dry the area carefully and bandage according to your vets advice. Your horse might also be prescribed antibiotics.
• Once you get the mud fever infection under control then you might want to try using turnout leg wraps.
Equine Rain Scald
• Rain scald has a lot of the same characteristics of mud fever but can occur on the face and body. The most usual sites for rain scald to attack are the back and hindquarters.
• Treatment is the same as for mud fever.
• You will find that prevention is quite easy because you can bring your horse undercover or use a good quality waterproof rug.