Keeping Your Horse Protected from Cracked Heels
The Last Ride Arizona discusses horse condition called Cracked Heels
Also known as mud fever and greasy heel, cracked heels is a painful condition for horses that should be addressed right away.
Symptoms of cracked heels include cracking of the skin, red skin, raw skin and the presence of scabs. The skin around the heel and pastern becomes tender to the horse and may become inflamed right above the hoof and below the fetlock. While lameness rarely develops from the condition, it is possible.
Cracked heels are caused by bacteria that infect horses after they stand in wet, dirty conditions for an excessive amount of time. Horses with feathering are at a greater risk of developing the condition because the extra hair traps the moisture, thereby preventing the skin from drying properly. Bacteria then begins to form as the skin remains perpetually wet.
Applying a protective cream and taking steps to keep the legs clean and dry will allow the area to heal while preventing further problems from developing. The horse’s legs should also be cleaned well after working or otherwise spending time in the field. Extra care should be taken when the heels are close to the ground, as the heels are then more susceptible to becoming waterlogged.
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