The best way to treat mud fever

By Wendy Talbot on 23 February 2018

How do I treat mud fever? If you think your horse may have mud fever it’s always best to speak to your vet. Every case is different and what works for one horse may not be right for another.

In most instances to treat mud fever you will need to:

  • Carefully trim the hair from the affected area.
  • Remove dirt and scabs using a mild anti-bacterial warm water wash.
  • Dry very thoroughly – strong paper towels tend to work best.
  • Your vet may suggest applying an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antibiotic or anti-inflammatory ointment.
  • If mites or mange have been identified an anti-parasitic treatment will be needed.
  • Systemic therapy may be prescribed for severe cases.

Did you know?

Mud fever is also referred to as greasy heel, scratches, cracked heels, dew poisoning or pastern dermatitis.

Mud fever can also occur in the summer.

Once a horse has had mud fever it is likely be more susceptible to the condition in future.

Related blog posts

Find out more about mud fever





Anthony (2013) pastern dermatitis. Vet Clin Equine 29 (2013) 577–588



Wendy graduated from Bristol University in 1999. She then went on to complete a residency at Liverpool University and holds a European Diploma in Equine Internal Medicine. After working in practice for 13 years, she joined Zoetis in 2012 as the National Equine Veterinary Manager.

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