Boy that rainstorm we had was quite a doozy! Forget about it raining “cats and dogs”, more like “horses and ponies”! I hope everyone stayed safe, and for those of you who lost power: now you know what living like a horse is like…it’s not so bad! Who needs electricity anyway? The flooding from the storm was something I can sympathize with however; my field was wet and muddy for days. And because my pasture was littered with puddles, I developed a little skin problem called “scratches”.
You may ask “Scratches? I think my cat has that!” Scratches is not a condition itself, but rather a description of a condition that causes skin on the bulbs of the heel and the folds of skin in the pastern area to become red, inflamed, and cracked, often looking like scratch marks. It’s also called pastern dermatitis, dew poisoning, greasy heel, or mud fever to give you a better idea of what I’m dealing with. Muddy or wet conditions contribute to a horse developing scratches because the constant moisture not only irritates the delicate skin found at the back of the pasterns and hooves, but provides the perfect conditions for bacterial and fungal infections.
The first step in treating scratches is to get the horse out of the moist environment. In my case, my caretaker has been using a homemade remedy to treat my scratches; a mixture of furacin ointment with baby diaper rash cream (zinc oxide). It may seem funny to treat with diaper rash cream, but the zinc oxide keeps the moisture out to promote healing and the bacterial action of the furacin works on the infection, so it’s the perfect combination!
Have you ever used a home remedy to treat an ailment? Don’t be afraid to share in the comment section below, or on the Equine Science Center’s Facebook page!
Stay dry friends!