A Muddy Problem 

Over the weekend I read and interesting article about an experiment on the prevention of Mud fever – See here.

There’s no scientific basis for the experiment, but I thought about it logically. Experts have said for years that continuously washing horses legs is a contributing factor to mud fever, and it is far better to let a horse stand in and then brush off the dry mud.

But what if the horse is standing in and their legs aren’t drying properly? Or if an owner has limited time to dry the legs properly – such as a heavily feathered horse, or they only coming in during the day. People advocate the use of towels, but I wonder how towels are dried and kept clean (numerous towels and a strict laundry cycle I guess). And also, does rubbing the legs to dry them rub dirt particles against sensitive, damp skin and cause minute wounds for the bacteria to enter? 

This article repeats the importance of not over washing legs, but said if necessary then it should be done but the focus of care should be rewarming the legs. I can see the inverse correlation between warming the legs and the time taken for them to dry, but I thought the bacteria liked warm moist conditions?

Lots of questions have been thrown up, and it’s so hard to know what to do in muddy conditions. Usually I don’t worry about mud fever and Otis, but this winter is so wet that I’m beginning to wonder how much wet and mud his legs can handle. It would be interesting to see some more research done into the effects of keeping the legs warm, not just dry, perhaps using thermography. I have dug out the thermotex stable wraps I inherited a few years ago as the article did make me think that they would be helpful in drying his legs quickly, which will at least help me brush off mud and keep them cleaner so in that way the article has a valid point. 

If anyone else has seen any more recent experiments with preventing mud fever, as I think prevention of the bacteria establishing themselves is the critical factor in beating mud fever.

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