Treating Horse Scratches with Banixx (Mud Fever)

How To Treat Horse Scratches (Mud Fever)

horse scratchesBefore discussing how to treat horses scratches,  let's establish what it is.  Scratches is an escalating condition caused by a fungus: Sporotrichum Schenki to be exact. It's also known by other names such as Equine Mud Fever, Dew Poisoning, Greasy Heel or Pastern Dermatitis.

What causes Horse Scratches?

The ideal scenario for this painful infection is a season of cold rainy days (mud) or, mornings of early, heavy dew where endless mud/moisture creates the perfect storm for this pesky, persistent problem.

Other sources of irritation that lead to a horse with Scratches include: 

  • Insects and parasites causing irritation and subsequent infection 
  • Dry, cracked skin that is continually aggravated by the horse’s motion
  • Ringworm (which is also a fungus)
  • Infection of the hair follicles with Staphylococcal bacteria. 


Banixx Reviews - What Our Customers Have to Say

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This product was bought on a recommendation from a family member who swears by it. I decided to try it and I could not believe the way it works. It doesn't sting and heals FAST! Horses are like overgrown 2 year olds and are always coming in from the pasture with a scrapes.
My mare had a gash on her left right rear leg which seemed to just get worse no matter what I put on it. I used Banixx twice a day for about 3 weeks and it got better daily. I consider it a new tool in my arsenal.
I bought this specifically for a horse who had a severe case of scratches. For the first four days I did twice daily application and healing began immediately. After four days I went to once daily application and healing progressed rapidly. He was completely healed within two weeks.
Suo Marte
I bought this a week ago and it has done wonders for my horses stubborn scratches. This product seemed to work better (or just as well as) something I bought from the vet for twice as much. I apply it at least once a day and after a week the scabs were falling off.
I have been using Banixx for the past few years on my horses who tend to be prone to scratches. Easy to apply, not messy and works like a charm.
I have used this product for everything from small nics, scrapes and cuts to burning for them and peace of mind for me. Works wonders. It also comes in a travel size that comes in handy on the road. I always have a spare bottle on hand so I don't run out.
Silver Star
One of our horses had an encounter with a panel. As a result he scraped and cut both his hind legs. He was so ouchy our farrier rescheduled his trim and recommended we spray his legs with Bannix. We did and the improvement is phenomenal! So glad we switched our treatment to Bannix.
This spray is as effective as Vetricyn but much more economical, it was gentle in that my sensitive guy didn't flinch when it was put onto a freshly cleaned cut, and it helped his cut to heal quickly in comparison to a generic ointment.
When I first got my TB rescue she was in poor condition with some awful bite wounds on her hindquarters. I had seen an ad for Banixx and decided to try it. WOW! it worked really well and even on the deep wounds and rain rot. I keep a bottle in my barn now.
Love this stuff. I use it on any skin issues, bug bites, scrapes and as a preventive for possible rain rot around my mare's fly mask.

How do Horses get Scratches? Equine Mud Fever?

Although Scratches is caused by a fungus, it can also have a bacterial component in more advanced stages.  The fungus thrives on organic matter as it penetrates tiny breaks in the horse’s skin leading to a simultaneous bacterial infection.  It's often called Mud Fever because it's a condition that can easily develop in horses that spend time in muddy conditions. Visually, it starts as a small, pinkish ulceration in the plantar pastern and develops into bigger sores with dark, thick crusty scabs that can ooze puss and cause hair loss and edema/swelling. Can scratches on horses cause swelling? Yes!  If left untreated, bacteria can then invade inner tissue and even vascular and lymphatic vessels causing serious issues with swelling of the lower leg. In mild cases, it makes your horse sore and tender but, in more advanced cases, a horse with this affliction will not want to move and may become lame. 

Early Scratches (Mud Fever) treatment with harsh chemicals tends to inflame and dry out the tissue, increasing the likelihood of future complications.  This chronic and progressive, painful equine pastern dermatitis/inflammation infects the deeper layers of skin in the heel, fetlock, and pasterns of horses.  This is an area of constant movement/flexion which makes healing more problematic; it never gets to "rest" and heal.

Are scratches contagious? The bacteria that cause scratches can be transferred from horse to horse through their environment, grooming brushes, blankets, saddle pads, tack and horse-to-human-to-horse contamination, to name a few means. It is important to disinfect tools, equipment, environments and practice good hand-washing. Read on for more tips on how to keep scratches under control.

Fortunately, since Banixx is not only an antibacterial and antifungal for horses, it’s the ideal product for the treatment of any equine scratches. Moreover, it’s well-tolerated because it comes along with no clinical odor, no oily residue and no sting/burn to traumatize your horse.

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Treatment of Scratches on Horses

It's important to note that there are different approaches to resolving mud fever/horse scratches, including the use of harsh chemical mixtures, often containing iodine, alcohol, or tea tree oil that dry out, irritate and weaken the tissue.

The danger with this harsh approach is not only that it further weakens the already-damaged tissue but also that it’s necessary to eradicate 100% of the infectious cells. If this is not achieved, the organisms will mutate and continue to thrive. Such chemicals may also cause your horse considerable discomfort in the form of stinging or burning so that he ends up being difficult to treat. Treatment difficulties may result in less consistent treatment and consequently a prolonging of the infection.

A more benign and successful treatment for Pastern Dermatitis...yes!...Scratches has many names! is to carefully clip any excess or long hair away from the infected area, taking care not to break the skin. It is preferred that you do not attempt to pick off the scabs; these are Nature’s protective band-aids, and removal will not only be very painful for your horse but leave the skin at a much greater risk for further infection.Note: your Vet will likely call this Pastern Dermatitis instead of Scratches!

Gently wash the affected areas with Banixx Medicated Shampoo. Our soap-free shampoo formula contains 4% chlorhexidine that delivers a punch to bacteria/fungus i.e. Scratches. Moreover, it's further enhanced with marine collagen that provides sea-sourced amino acids to repair damage while providing a deep-skin gentle cleansing, moisturizing action for your horse’s skin. Pat the areas dry and apply Banixx spray as a gentle, topical, best antifungal treatment for horses. Banixx will not burn or sting and will promote a quicker recovery. The removal of scabs is not necessary because a few days of consistent treatment with Banixx spray will cause the scabs to fall off naturally, having cleared the infection beneath them. As a final application, you may also finish the process by applying Banixx antimicrobial Wound Care Cream that contains premiere marine collagen, 2% chlorhexidine and extracts such as aloe vera, chamomile, oil of peppermint & more.  Once applied, it sets up like a protective, moisturizing, medicated band-aid over the area.  Buy Banixx or buy online.

What Horses are most at risk?

Show horses may fall culprit to this painful infection because their legs are washed more often than their pasture counterparts. Moreover, constant use of soap-laced shampoos will rob the skin of natural oils leaving the skin chafed and exposed.  These horses tend to work predominately in concentrated show-ring areas where the combination of moisture, warmth and a sand/manure mix may lead to this infection of the lower limb.

Breed and color can play a role. It's a more common ailment in equines with white legs/socks because the unpigmented skin is more vulnerable to irritation, and the subsequent sores open the door to this infection. This problem is confined to a horse's lower extremities because blood flow in a horse’s legs is poorer and good blood flow is vital for rapid, consistent healing.

Horses with feathered legs, found predominantly in heavier breeds, such as draft, draft mix or Gypsy Vanners are also more susceptible to Scratches. Heavy feathers set up the perfect storm for infection since they trap dirt and moisture, that, combined, lead to an ideal breeding ground for bacterial/fungal growth and consequently, infections. Buy Banixx or buy online.

Banixx has both anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties that work quickly and painlessly to get rid of and treat Mud fever. Additionally, the treatment does not cause angst for your horse because Banixx has no clinical odor or foreign scent to alarm your horse. On top of this, the treatment does not burn or sting upon application.

For best results during Scratches treatment, keep the horse in a dry, clean environment for as long as possible.  Additionally, if it's possible, house him in an area/situation where he is readily moving since movement will stimulate blood flow and subsequent healing. As always, consistency of treatment is key to good results; daily attention is a must for success. Click Here to View Infographic about Scratches in Horses

The perfect storm for horse scratches

Climate and Moisture
Horses that spend copious amounts of time in damp, muddy pastures or who are frequently exposed to heavy, early morning dew are prime targets. This is because the skin of their lower legs, pasterns, and heels is subjected to constant wetting and drying that robs the skin of natural oils.  Without these oils the skin becomes dried-out, flaky and undermined. Once weakened, it’s easy for some small infection to take up residence and the next thing you know, your equine has a case of Scratches! or...Mud fever!

Hygiene and Work Environment
Scratches is a frequent, pesky infection for show horses of any breed, who generally receive more soap-laden baths than their pasture counterparts.  They also tend to work in rings where large quantities of manure have intermingled with the sand base over time. The gritty sand alone can irritate the sensitive, thinner leg skin, causing micro-tears where bacteria enter and set up shop aka infection!. Poor stable/stall hygiene may also be a contributing factor.

Breed & Color
Scratches on horses are more common in equines who have white legs or socks because the unpigmented skin is more susceptible to chafing and abrasion, which opens the way for this infection. This malady is confined to a horse's lower limbs because blood flow in a horse’s legs is somewhat weaker and good blood flow is essential for rapid, reliable sustained healing. Feathered legs, that are found predominantly in heavier breeds, such as draft, draft mix or Gypsy Vanners can also encourage scratches since they harbor moisture, warmth and dirt.  This lethal trio combination is a perfect breeding ground for infection, so these heavy feathers require much maintenance to keep them healthy.

Customer Testimonial - Success for Slim with Banixx treating his Scratches 

Slim, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred-cross, recently got a case of Horse Scratches. Lindsey, Slim's owner, was only able to treat Slim every alternate day with Banixx, resulting a in slower outcome. The results speak for themselves. Note that, along with a rapid decrease in redness and irritation, there is also a marked reduction in swelling in the pastern/ankle area.

While we generally recommend treating Scratches twice per day, am and pm, we realize that busy schedules do not always allow for this. Lindsey now keeps an eye open for any sign of redness or puffiness around Slim's pasterns and is right there with her Banixx at any suspicion of trouble. 

Daily Steps you can take to prevent scratches

  • Be watchful…Scratches can quickly escalate into a raging infection that can cause lameness. Proactively watch for any signs of soreness or redness in the pastern or ankle area.  Spray with Banixx to stay ahead of any troubles.
  • Dry your horse's legs thoroughly before putting him up in a stall and apply a tissue-friendly anti-microbial spray or cream such as Banixx.
  • Avoid early morning turnout when there is heavy dew.  However, if this is unavoidable, apply a thin protective layer of Banixx Wound Care Cream that will dry like a medicated band-aid.  This will block most, or all of the early morning dew and protect your horse.
  • Use dry, clean wraps/boots around the infected areas and be vigilant to keep each horse's boots separate.
  • Keep your stalls clean and dry.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect all equipment.

Horse Scratches

Scratches on Horse

Customer Testimonial - Success for with Banixx treating Chronic Progressive Lymphedema 

I run a private small time rescue in Floresville, Texas. I started using your Banixx product for some rain rot on some of the horses that had been rescued and sent to me.  I recently took in a Draft horse that had numerous scrapes and Chronic Progressive Lymphedema. 

After only 3 days of treatment---LOOK!--- a massive change has taken place---amazing---thank you for such a wonderful product!  Buy Banixx or buy online.

Nickol Sullivan
Remedy Ranch Rescue

equine mud fever

Top two images show before Banixx treatment. The bottom image shows after treatment with Banixx.

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By "prevention" we mean being proactive and involved in your pet's welfare. For example, if you are using Banixx for a particular problem and results are not seen in a few days or, if the situation seems worse--don't hesitate---it's time to consult with your local veterinarian!