Winter is upon us again and it’s time to protect your horse’s health against the elements. Wet and muddy conditions become a breeding ground for bacteria and your horses will need extra help to stay in good health and performing at their best.
A common winter condition is Greasy Heel, a bacterial infection similar to that of rain scald. Greasy heel is an inflammatory condition of the skin (dermatitis) caused by bacteria, mites and fungi present in the soil or bedding. It is most commonly found on the lower limbs, particularly in the non-pigmented areas.
Many factors can predispose a horse to greasy heel however higher susceptibility is seen in horses with white limbs and/or feathery fetlocks. Favourable conditions for the development of greasy heel reduce the effectiveness of the skin barrier to invasion by organisms triggering greasy heel. Favourable conditions include:
- Presence of moisture (constant or repeated exposure)
- Low heel confirmation
- Abrasions to the lower limbs
- Insect bites to the lower limbs
Greasy heel scabs can appear crusty, scaly, red and inflamed. In severe cases, the scabs can become large, infected and ooze pus and even lead to the development of proud flesh. Often the pastern can become red and swollen at first before leading to the development of scabs.
Often minor infections may heal in their own time if the skin has enough time to dry out, however in winter it can be a struggle to keep the legs dry. QuickHEAL is a broad-spectrum antibacterial, antifungal and water-resistant ointment to assist rapid healing of greasy heel and other general skin disorders such as rain scald, dermatitis, ringworm, girth gall, saddle sores and nicks and cuts. The active ingredients in QuickHEAL effectively kill bacteria and fungi and the combination of sulphur and copper sulphate provide an unfavourable environment for organisms helping to prevent re-infection.
Autumn and winter are arguably the harshest times of the year for many reasons – temperature variations, wet weather, muddy conditions, less sunlight, no time. We all know the hassles of living in cold, wet weather. While we tend to focus on protecting our horses’ bodies with multiple layers of rugs, the hooves bear the brunt of harsh winter conditions. The hooves may absorb more water and become soft/pliable. This provides an opportunity for organisms to break through the protective barrier of the hoof wall and result in infection.
If hoof wall strength is compromised the horses ultimate movement is affected. Weakness around any area of structural support particularly concerning the hooves (which are the main pressure absorbers of the body) will result in a reduced performance level. It is important to condition the hoof on the inside (via nutrition) and on the outside via dressings that are absorbed to benefit the overall structure. HoofPRIME is a dressing formulated to penetrate the hoof wall and provide nourishment to the inner and outer structures of the hoof wall, ensuring that strength and flexibility are maintained. HoofPRIME strengthens, protects and nourishes the hoof wall whilst providing antibacterial and antifungal properties through its high-quality natural ingredients.