Horse Health Tips For Students includes information for our students about common horse health care issues. These posts are to bring awareness to horse welfare issues - always ask your veterinarian for advice and treatment protocols for your own horse!
After a winter with record snowfall, we are now into a very wet spring. This brings about a couple of health issues that anyone working with the schoolies needs to know about and watch for! One of the is scratches.
What is scratches?
Scratches (a.k.a. mud fever and pastern dermatitis) occurs when the skin on the lower part of the horses leg becomes infected. The infection can be bacterial, fungal and/or parasitic in nature (and often in combination). Scratches most commonly occurs on back of the lower leg, particularly on legs with white hair (i.e., horses with socks) and when conditions are wet and muddy. That being said, we have had it occur on horses when the pens are extremely dry as well and the infection may start with a cut or abrasion.
How can you tell if it's scratches?