All this rain making your horses miserable? With the record-breaking amount of rain we have had this year, it’s not surprising we have seen an increase in rain related issues in our equine patients. Here are some tips to keep your horses happy and healthy during this wet time!
Constant wet conditions can compromise otherwise healthy feet or worsen pre-existing problems. The hoof can become soft allowing bacteria in the soil to penetrate the hoof capsule and cause problems. Hoof cracks, white line defects and other deficits in the hoof are perfect places for bacteria to hide. One of the most common problems we are seeing is foot abscesses, or pockets of bacteria and pus which cause pressure within the hoof. These often appear quickly and cause mild to severe lameness depending on their location. Another common wet weather problem is thrush, a fungal infection impacting the bottom of the foot, generally in the grooves next to the frog. It is is usually very smelly and appears
black on the surface but will appear white and crumbly underneath.
Constantly wet skin destroys the skins natural defences against bacteria and fungus, allowing superficial or deeper infections to take hold. Greasy heel is one such problem, where the skin around the hoof, pastern and fetlock becomes infected, leading to redness, scabs, pain and swelling. It typically occurs on feet with pink skin (white socks) but can occur on any foot. Rain scald is a similar
problem, but occurs on the body, particularly along the back and over the withers. Cellulitis is another problem which can occur in the wet weather. Small cuts and abrasions, greasy heel or insect bites can allow bacteria to get deep into the tissue and cause infection. Cellulitis is a deep infection of the skin and causes painful
swelling and can lead to systemic infection if untreated.
It is also important to keep your horse up to date with their tetanus vaccinations. Tetanus is a bacteria which is picked up from soil and mud and can affect horses through any open wounds or via ingestion. Horses can also get tetanus from hoof abscesses! If your horse hasn’t been vaccinated for tetanus, or you are unsure, ask
one of our friendly team members for advice!
Tips to help prevent problems
⁃ Pick out your horses feet daily to remove any excess debris and compacted dirt/mud
⁃ Clean the bottom of the foot with iodine after picking out to reduce the bacteria present
⁃ Provide somewhere dry for horses to stand in their paddock, whether its a shelter with a dry base, a stable or a paddock with higher ground
⁃ Keep horses feet well maintained with regular trimming from a farrier
⁃ Provide adequate nutrition. Hoof supplements, such as biotin, can improve the quality of the hoof and make them less prone to problems
⁃ Inspect feet and skin regularly to catch any problems early, remove and check under rugs if your horse if wearing one
⁃ Apply barrier protection to pasterns and heels to protect the skin from constant moisture, this can be something like white healer, sudocream, material socks infused silver or vasoline
⁃ Keep your horse up to date with tetanus vaccinations
If you are concerned your horse is suffering from any of the above conditions, get in contact with us today