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January 10, 2011

The Creeping Crud

Photo by Sara Lieser.

Life in Florida is lovely. The weather is temperate, and there are lots of people and horses to keep one busy. But it’s also a real pain in the butt. Land here is precious, so turnout is limited. The grass that grows is not well-liked by picky horses, and the soil is extremely sandy, so it’s hard to get grass to grow in the first place.

That same sandy soil is full of microbes too, and between the sensitive chestnut mare, the sensitive AND chromey chestnut gelding, and the prone-to-scratches brown horse, I’m in for a three-month Battle Against The Scruff.

But I come armed, and I come experienced. Virginia is not much of a reprieve from The Creeping Crud; we deal with it all the time at home, too, though certainly nothing is as stellar as South Florida Crud. I’ve learned that above all else, keeping the hair short and keeping the skin soft is crucial. We clip everything, and when I bathe, I dry very thoroughly and try and use some kind of conditioner on the skin of their legs.

My weapon against scratches plays on just that theory—scratches get in because the skin cracks when it goes from wet to dry over and over again. So I bathe sparingly, and when I do, after carefully drying the legs with a clean towel, I use a mixture of Nolvasan (a tough antimicrobial), Desitin (diaper rash ointment) and Azium powder (dexamethazone, a steroid, for its anti-inflammatory properties).

Once the scratches are gone, or if it’s getting close to horse show time (the dex will test), I switch over to straight desitin. I want to keep the skin as supple as possible, so it can’t crack, so the crud can’t get in. Simple.

The fungal infestations are another matter. After bathing, as a preventative measure, I spray my horses down with a mixture of approximately two parts Sore No More liniment, one part apple cider vinegar. The liniment’s for their muscles, though it’s in a witch hazel base, and anything with anti-inflammatory powers can’t be wrong. The vinegar is for The Crud. It’s no cure, but it’s my first line of defense.

Once or twice a week on an uncruddy horse I will bathe their legs with a shampoo called Cortisoothe. I get it from my vet, and I really wish that someone would make a bigger container of it, because it only comes in little 12-ounce containers. It’s 1 percent hydrocortisone, and as I keep saying, anti-inflammatory is the way to go. It just seems to help calm everything down.

Once the crud has taken hold, everyone’s got their own breed of witchcraft, none of which works spectacularly well. Nolvasan seems to work well, though not every day—it’s quite powerful and seems to irritate sensitive skin. I don’t really have a super (s)crud missile when it comes to treating existing crud, but I’m sure, with the Begging-For-Trouble Three I’ve brought down, that I’ll have plenty of time to experiment. Ugh.

What do you think, out there in Chronicle-land? Please share your secret crud weapons!

shephejw
3 years 23 weeks ago
New crud weapon
Lucky Braids Handy Salve.  Good for tail itch too. Read More
DMK (not verified)
3 years 25 weeks ago
WEF crud?
Best as I can tell, it's endemic to WEF.   I used to live in Broward (soil is worse, grass is positively Kentucky lush in Palm Beach versus points south) and my horses were on all day or... Read More

Comments

ericafurkis
3 years 26 weeks ago

My method

When my horse got horrible crud from being turned out in a paddock with a small pond with ducks, I got a small spray bottle and bought a tube of 7 day monistat (yes, for yeast infections!), a tube of hydro-cortisone, and a bottle of alcohol.  I squeezed both tubes into the bottle, then added enough alcohol to make it spray and applied to the legs every day.

The monistat is for the fungus, hydro-cortisone to calm everything, and the alcohol to keep everything dry.

Love your blog and enjoy it thoroughly!

Erica Furkis

 

Amartin
3 years 26 weeks ago

mudfever

or scratches... on the wet west coast this is a constant problem too - I use dandruff shampoo (nizarol) or even head and shoulders for the anti fungal, (works great on rainscald and the scurf you get on the shins under your polos in the sweaty weather)  and the desitin cream also keeping everything dry and not bathing or washing legs alot makes a huge difference.   But if they stand in mud then the diaper cream is the best barrier.  Or fixing your turnout so there is no mud!!!  

you can get a low % cortizone cream over the counter at the drug store = and maybe even ask the pharmacist for a cortizone shampoo.  You would be amazed how helpful the pharmacists are and how much cheaper it is than getting it from the vet.  I think you can also get a Hibitane cream at the drug store - which is antifungal/ antibacterial.  It also comes in a liquid soap but I am having a hard time finding it these days.  When in doubt, I would probably try betadine ...... seems to work for almost everything.

Enjoying your blog, thank you.  Alison 

DMK
3 years 25 weeks ago

WEF crud?

Best as I can tell, it's endemic to WEF.   I used to live in Broward (soil is worse, grass is positively Kentucky lush in Palm Beach versus points south) and my horses were on all day or night t/o year 'round.  No crud.  Get to WEF? Crud.  Move to GA? No crud. Go back to WEF? Crud. Go to Tampa or Ocala? No crud.  AAAAAUUUUGH!  I do like salicylic acid shampoos (fingers crossed on the spelling) or sulfur/tar shampoos for battling crud.

shephejw
3 years 23 weeks ago

New crud weapon

Lucky Braids Handy Salve.  Good for tail itch too.