How do I treat scratches in horses?

scratches in horses

Horse Scratches, also known as Mud Fever, Dew Poisoning, Greasy Heel or Pastern Dermatitis is caused by a fungus. However, in more advanced cases it can also have a bacterial component. Thankfully, Banixx Horse & Pet Care has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that work quickly and painlessly to treat scratches in horses. For the most effective result, saturate the afflicted area in Banixx and keep the horse in a dry, clean environment for as long as possible. Treatment for horse scratches should be administered minimally twice daily, morning and evening. We prefer that you do not attempt to pick off the scabs, as this may be painful for your horse and leave them at risk for further infection.  Banixx is able to penetrate the scab for quick and lasting results! A few days of consistent treatment with Banixx will cause the scabs to fall off naturally, having cleared the infection beneath them. Generally speaking, two daily treatments are recommended. Banixx is also odor-free and will not cause your horse any discomfort in the form of stinging or burning; this makes application a breeze for both horse and owner!

If your horse has to go into an area where re-infection may occur, try to keep the affected area protected with a layer of gauze soaked in Banixx and secured by VetWrap or Duct tape.  If this is not possible then just be sure to flush the area well with Banixx upon return to a drier environment.

Scratches on Horse - Day One using BanixxScratches on Horses - Day 7 using BanixEquine Scratches - Day 14 using Banixx

A success story from Lindsey W and Slim – Horse Scratches (Mud Fever) resolved in short order!

Slim, a 17-year-old grey Thoroughbred-Cross, recently got a case of equine Scratches. Lindsey, Slim's owner, was only able to treat his condition every alternate day with Banixx. While a general recommendation for treating Scratches in horses is a twice-daily application of the product, we realize that busy schedules do not always allow for this. However, as you can see from the photos (days 1, 7 and 14), even at a halved rate of application, the results speak for themselves! Along with a rapid reduction in redness and irritation, there is also a marked diminishment of swelling in the pastern/ankle area.

Lindsey now keeps an eye open for any sign of redness or puffiness around Slim’s pasterns and is right there with Banixx at the first sign of trouble!


What are Scratches and how do I treat Horse Scratches?

The term "Scratches" refers to a chronic and progressive equine dermatitis that infects the deep layers of skin in the heel and pastern of horses and cattle. It is known by many names including: greasy heal, mud fever, dew poisoning, cracked heels or equine pastern dermatitis. The conditions for its development are primarily damp, muddy pastures and constant wetting and drying of the skin in the area of the leg and hoof. Scratches in horses is more specific to equines with white legs or socks because un-pigmented skin is more susceptible to chaffing and abrasion, which opens the way for infection. Equine Scratches can be a real problem with show horses, since they generally receive more baths than their pasture counterparts and tend to work in rings where large quantities of manure have intermingled with the sand base.

There are different approaches to resolving horse Scratches, including the use of harsh chemical mixtures. The danger with this approach is that it's necessary to eradicate 100% of the infectious cells; otherwise, the organisms will mutate and continue to thrive. Such chemicals may also cause your horse discomfort in the form of stinging or burning.

A more benign and successful approach to horse Scratches is to carefully clip the hair away from the infected area, taking care not to break the skin. Then, gently wash the affected areas with a mild soap. Pat the areas dry and apply a gentle, topical treatment, such as Banixx, that will not burn or sting and will promote healing. The removal of scabs is unnecessary, since Banixx will treat the underlying infection and thus enable scabs to fall off naturally in a matter of days. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and Banixx provides you with an opportunity for both!

Horse Scratches is caused by the fungus, Sporotrichum Schenki, and can also have a bacterial component in more advanced stages. The fungus thrives on organic matter and finds its way into breaks in the horse's skin. It begins as a small, pinkish ulceration in the plantar pastern and develops into sores with black crusty scabs that can ooze puss and cause hair loss and edema. If left untreated, bacteria can invade inner tissues and even vascular and lymphatic vessels. When this occurs, the whole lower leg may swell and can often lead to lameness. Other sources of irritation that lead to Scratches include: insects and parasites; cracked skin that is continually aggravated by the horse's motion; excessive washing of the legs; feathers or long fetlocks that retain moisture; sand/soil grit.


Efforts to prevent Scratches in horses include:

  • Horses should be kept off the wet pastures and housed in a clean, dry stall.
  • Check your horse's legs frequently for any early signs of infection and use Banixx as a preventative measure.
  • Dry your horse's legs before putting him up in a stall.
  • Avoid early morning turnout when there is heavy dew or frost on the ground.
  • Do not use wraps or boots or anything that will retain moisture, around the infected areas and be sure to keep each horse boots (as well as all your grooming equipment) separate.


Customer Testimonials

"One of the horses had Scratches, we soaked  gauze pads with Banixx and wrapped it the morning, the scabs were already falling off! Banixx is amazing!"  Helen from Freedom Village USA , New York

"Banixx is a wonderful product. I have a horse in my barn that gets scratches and rain rot every year from all the fungus here in PA. This year she had none! We used Banixx as part of her normal grooming routine and she was free of the normal yearly problems. I've recommended Banixx to all my clients especially those with "high white" and bald faced animals." - Pam Kister, via Facebook



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Banixx® Benefits

  • Anti-fungal & Anti-bacterial
  • Safe around the eye and mouth
  • No steroids, no antibiotics
  • No odor to alarm your pet
  • No color, non-staining
  • Non-irritating, no sting or burn
  • Long shelf-life, temperature tolerant


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