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Mud fever/pastern dermatitis remove scabs or not?

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  • Mud fever/pastern dermatitis remove scabs or not?

    First time since owning my horse that I had to deal with mud fever with him; I always read that you should NOT pick the scabs as it lets more bacteria invade.

    everyone at my barn is telling me that they always removed the scabs prior to treatment.

    what is the consensus here?

    I will probably get 50% say leave them alone and 50% saying to remove them.
    *Member of the Quality Free-Choice Hay/Pasture Feeders Society* Member of the As Much Turnout as Possible Group* FEED by WEIGHT not VOLUME*

  • #2
    I always leave them and lay on the custom cream super thick. Any time I've tried to mess with the scabs the horse reacts like it is very painful, so I just let them be.

    I got the recipe for the cream from COTH and it works great. It's equal parts steroid cream, diaper rash cream, triple antibiotic cream, and monistat or athlete's foot cream. Mix it all together and apply liberally.

    Use the search function for "scratches" and I'm sure you'll find a bunch of threads and lots of opinions.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      My vote is the same - leave them (scabs) and slab on the cream. The scabs will likely fall off soon with the moisture of the cream, but in layers that are less irritating than pulling them off
      Forward...go forward


      • #4
        Agree on not removing the scabs for scratches. For rain rot, which is on the body and tends to be thinner scabs (not always, before anyone decides to skip the "tends to" part ) it's generally a good idea to help their removal with some currying and getting the area exposed to air.

        Scratches scabs tend to be much thicker,and since the legs are subject to a lot more dirt and moisture than the upper part of the body, it's just not a good idea to go picking them, which creates raw open wounds.

        The exception is if things are bad enough a vet feels that sedating and shaving and starting fresh is the best course of action.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          I also leave them on


          • #6
            I know you didn't ask, but this protocol- not missing one step - has proven itself for me.

            1. Clip area if you haven't already
            2. Rub Hibiclens into whole area. Let sit 5 mins
            3. Wash off and dry leg completely- use a hair dryer or use a polo wrap over a clean piece of towel for 30 mins. But it must be DRY
            4. Apply ointment mix (antibiotic and antifungal mix)
            5. Cover in cotton, wrap w vetrap and Elastikon

            Repeat daily. This cured a nasty case of scratches in knee deep mud one winter. I don't think picking scabs or not is all that important TBH, following this protocol.

            Anyway if you hace scratches on 2 legs why not try picking one and leaving the other alone as a test?


            • #7
              Another vote for leaving the scabs alone. You don't want to want to have open wounds which would allow bacteria and fungi to enter the site. A daily liberal application of scratches cream will aid healing and the scabs will slough off in time.


              • #8
                Neem Oil works a treat. You can leave the scabs on, within a few days the neem oil has sloughed them off, and there is healthy new pink skin under. Neem oil is antibacterial and antifungal.
                A canter is a cure for every evil. ~Benjamin Disraeli


                • #9
                  I spray on Dr. Naylor's Blu-Kote (which contains Gentian Blue, a strong anti-fungal.) All I do is lightly clean the area before spraying, but leave the scabs alone. (Note - not all "blue" sprays have Gentian Blue - check ingredients list.)


                  • #10
                    I leave them if it's scratches.

                    I wash the area and very gently sponge with my chosen cleanser.

                    I then make sure the area is completely dry.

                    Then I coat with a zinc oxide based concoction or blue spray.

                    This is for a minor case. I've never had a major case that would potentially involve a vet.


                    • #11
                      Leave the scabs alone, I speak from many years experience. I hose off any mud/dirt (no scrubbing ever!) I then slather on diaper rash cream as thick as you can get. Leave for a day, use paper towel to gently wipe off and reapply. Its messy but works and eventually the scabs come off pain free. I love the Keratex mud shield powder for prevention once it is all cleared up.

                      If I spot a small scab I immediately put a few drops of undiluted tea tree oil on it. That stops it in its tracks. You can't do that will a full blown case as it will hurt.


                      • #12
                        Neem oil also works a treat in prevention, it really does work. I had a nasty case of mud fever on my horse last winter, the first time I have ever had to deal with this, and it worked without a problem. It also works as an anti-inflammatory so is soothing to the horse as well as fighting bacteria and fungus. I just put it on straight, nothing to mix. The scabs came off within a few days and did not return. I also used Protocon cream as a barrier to the mud, and that helped to prevent a return.
                        A canter is a cure for every evil. ~Benjamin Disraeli


                        • #13
                          I massage cream over the scabs, in a day or two or three, they loosen.
                          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                          • #14
                            No picking, no currying, no finger nails. I lightly scrub the pastern with chlorhexidine scrub (surgical prep stuff), using my bare hands or a smooth sponge. Work the lather in well, try to get the chlorhex down through the cracks to skin. Let scabbies fall off with gentle rubbing, use fingertips and palms, NO FINGERNAILS. Allow chlorhex to sit on the area at least 90 seconds before rinsing. (Confession: when I'm treating pasture puffs in the field far from the hose, I don't rinse, instead let wet dewy grass wipe it off.). Treat daily or twice daily and you should clear it up in 7-10 days depending on living conditions (muddy fields?) and severity.
                            A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
                            ? Albert Einstein