I'm looking for ideas on how to treat my horses mud fever. I've got four horses with socks and/or white legs who are extremely prone to getting what we assume to be mudfever.

Now from what I've read it seems that we call hairloss on a horse that's been in deep mud, mudfever. Regardless of whether or not it's the right diagnosis so I will double check that later. From my understanding mudfever is actually bacterial and therefore can cause infections.

Anyway, onto my remedies:

  • I've tried paddock boots but these either come off or get mud crammed up inside of them and make the mudfever worse.
  • I've tried cream [Horses come in, get legs washed off, towel dry,
    cream on, stay in for the night, second application of cream in the
    morning and turned out again.] but much to the same effect.
  • I tried to keep them in when it got really bad but this just leaves them upset and quite strung with no energy let out.

My newest horse came with rainscald which is a similar bacterial infection. However, this was sorted with TLC and a rug. Does anyone have any further suggestions for mudfever? It's driving me mad!

(Will update with pictures soon.)

  • 1
    Let me know how the anti dandruff shampoo works. I'm really happy with the result. They had sores and were bleeding in places and it's so stressful, it must be horrible for them to be in that state. I should add, I only needed to use it 3 times - first twice a week and then a week later. Oh and my horses that got this bad all had totally black legs! we are in summer here, what season are you in?
    – user6796
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 2:25
  • @YvetteColomb - I will do! Currently I've left their legs caked in mud as it's own barrier and I'm a bit nervous to switch to shampooing their legs but I'll give it a go. The black legs is interesting! All of mine that are affected have white legs and the bay we have only has it on her white sock :') It's stressful as I imagine it's quite itchy too... I wonder if it would work for rainscald as it's the same bacteria? Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 9:28
  • 1
    That's an interesting question. I'm really struggling with itches and infections this summer. If you look at this video about half way through it, you will see the terrible mess one of my mares is in. I've managed to get on top of the others and cannot get on top of her mess. For rain scald I use betadine and try to ensure they don't get wet under rugs. Did you want to ask a rain scald question?
    – user6796
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 11:39
  • 1
    Yeh, we're in summer and we just came through drought and then flooded - believe it or not they're doing better since the flooding. Either way they go down to the creeks or dam to drink, the flooding has given them space to drink without being trapped in the dam or creek mud.
    – user6796
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 20:09
  • 1
    oh if it's working, don't fix it
    – user6796
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Interestingly I have a few horses with mud fever at the moment and had the vet out.

  1. She advised me to use an anti dandruff shampoo. We the legs down thoroughly and massage in the shampoo much of the way up the legs. Really rub it in and let it sit for 10 minutes. The shampoo aides in killing off germs that feed the mud fever. Then rinse the legs thoroughly and dry them well.

    • When they're dry you can use a number of applications on the legs with antibacterial and antifungal properties. I like to use tuffrock mud poultice that helps draw out moisture from any sores. You can also used clay based mud.
    • Another thing I use for this type of problem is zinc cream. The same type used for babies bottoms to protect from nappy rash. The principle is the same, protecting the skin from getting and remaining damp. With creams like these, it's important to ensure the skin is dry before applying them to avoid trapping water underneath the cream.

The best way to avoid it and prevent it from recurring is to keep the horses legs wet. This is difficult when there's dams and creeks within their paddocks.

If the legs get really bad they may require an antibiotic to help heal sores.

The other thing is to include supplements in their feed to make up for anything that may be lacking in the pasture due to the soil. This will help strengthen the immune system.

The other thing, is during warmer weather is ensure biting insects are kept from the horse. Using varying insect repellants helps. There's a couple of questions that cover insect repellants:

How to treat Queensland itch?

A safe treatment for ticks on a pregnant horse

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