Hilary Self answers:
As you know, mud fever is caused by a bacterial infection which gains entry to the body through skin that has become weakened by wet and muddy conditions. You can use herbs both internally and externally to help raise the overall condition and quality of the skin, making it more resistant to infection.
Starting on the inside
Internally you should choose herbs that will address the infection with their antibiotic and antimicrobial action, cleansing herbs to help clear inflammatory waste products and blood toxins and herbs to raise your horse’s immune response.
- Tissue cleansing – These herbs will encourage the removal of waste products from the tissues – Burdock, Dandelion root.
- Liver and kidney herbs to support and encourage the expulsion of the blood toxins and inflammatory waste products from the body – Milk Thistle, Dandelion leaf, Nettle, Cleaver.
- Lymphatics – to strengthen the horse’s lymphatic system responsible for clearing blood toxins and waste products from the body – Cleavers, Nettle, Burdock
- Antimicrobials, antibacterials – to fight the bacterial infection – Garlic, Echinacea, Marigold, Thyme.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs to reduce skin inflammation – Chamomile, Marigold.
- Herbs to support healthy skin growth and strong coat quality – Calendula (marigold), Cleaver, Kelp
- Immune support – Echinacea, Cleaver, Gotu kola
On the outside
Externally I would suggest using a soothing cream such as Hilton Phytobalm. The benefit of this cream is that once you have cleaned and dried the horse’s legs, the cream can be smoothed onto them over the top of the scabs. If the horse is going to be kept in then you can put stable bandages over the top of the cream and you will find that when you take the bandages off the scabs will come of with them.
- Shea Butter – this is a rich and soothing cream great for conditioning the skin.
- Myrrh – antibacterial and especially good for skin that has a wet appearance or is slow to heal.
- Propolis – antibacterial, healing
- Calendula (marigold) – anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antibacterial ideal for skin conditions and to encourage healing.
- Hypericum – to help reduce the pain and inflammation in wounds and damaged nerve endings
- Honey – healing, antibacterial.
Winter care tips for your horse