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DIY Mud Fever Prevention?

Hello everyone! I’m new here but wanted to get some advice on mud fever. I live in India and the monsoon this year has been particularly intense, my horse is showing some minor flaking of the skin and redness and I want to nip the pastern dermatitis in the bud before I get any open wounds/ scabs.

I’ve looked online and have seen a lot of good talked about barrier cream as a part of the treatment remedy - unfortunately it’s really hard and takes soooo long to get ointments etc… imported that it’s not a solution when I have an immediate need. So I was wondering… has anyone had any experience doing DIY barrier cream? If so can you provide me a recipe? Or any other tips of how to go about mud fever treatment in a more natural/ DIY way?

He’s currently also recovering from a ligament injury and has to be in the paddock at least 6-8 hours a day for circulation etc…where of course there’s some mud and wetness. I feel like mud boots would be great here but again same issue of no time to import them for my immediate problem… Has any one also ever tried making their own mud boots?

I’m having this crazy idea whereby I take a set of old jumping boots and bell boots and kind of sew some nylon on them to create temporary mud boots. Any thoughts?

Thanks :slight_smile:

I’d try desitin! Diaper rash cream is designed to be a barrier between skin and moisture so that’s what I use. Or any diaper rash cream that has 40% zinc oxide. The Walmart brand is the cheapest!

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India is so hard for horse management!

Can you get diaper rash ointment?

Can you get zinc oxide powder?

Unless you can really seal the top and bottom of boots, they’re just going to trap dirt, and even if you could, they’ll just increase the moisture around the leg


You’re paying attention to it and that’s half the battle. If when he comes in from the paddock you can make sure it’s really, really dry by towelling off that will help.

I agree diaper rash cream is helpful if you can get it. If not…

Can you get beeswax? I’ve never made an ointment specifically for the horses or mud fever, but I have made salves and so forth for humans, and they are typically made from a base of beeswax, some sort of butter (like shea, cocoa) and oil. Ratios tweaked for the consistency you need, so a good barrier would have plenty of beeswax. Then, if you can happen to get powdered zinc oxide that gets added to the base and you have homemade diaper cream. If you can’t (and admittedly that’s an odd ingredient anywhere in the world) I think you could sub a starch (like corn, tapioca, etc). Search google for DIY diaper creams for an actual recipe!


Even daily oiling could help. By keeping the skin well oiled you’re going to limit it’s capacity for absorbing water.

Pally and everyone else!

Thank you so much - this was suuuuper helpful! I never throught of diaper rash cream - also as someone who isn’t around children much I totally forgot that diaper rashes and baby rashes were even a thing!

For the immediate moment (like today on my way to the stables haha) I found diaper rash cream (yay) but it’s very expensive so I will still be switching to a DIY solution once I can accumulate the ingredients.

Which, speaking of - seems really easy! I can get all the ingredients to make it at home here easily - weirdly zinc oxide powder and beeswax were super easy to find, got some shea butter as well - so I have a box of things to experiment with arriving in a few days!

One follow up for those of you with experience - a lot of the DIY baby rash recipes I see suggest essential oils like lavender, tea tree and jojoba - is that okay for horses? Jojoba makes sense as it’s for skin and I use it as well for myself - but was wondering if the tea tree might aggravate, I know it does have antibacterial properties though…?

Thank again for the amazing help!

That really depends on the horse. Some people find tea tree oil products very helpful in treating skin infections, but I once had a horse get blistered over his entire topline from a single application of a tea tree oil based shampoo, so I steer clear now. (That horse was an uber sensitive chestnut, but it was a pretty traumatic experience for us both!)

yay! ZnOx is the main ingredient in diaper rash ointments. Here in the US we use the 40% zinc Desitin (or generic), there’s also a 10% which isn’t as good. That really soothes irritated skin (hello baby butts LOL) AND keeps moisture off. And, the double-edged sword is that it sticks really really well. So, what goes on the leg, stays on the leg :laughing: And then on the nose, and then wherever the nose touches… You can wipe off the old stuff and put on new, which is way easier and, for this, better than washing it off constantly.

Glad we could help and you found what you need!

As for the essential oils, they are extras that won’t affect the barrier aspect of your cream, so you can leave them out if you want. They might also help with healing, but there is some risk of irritation. I would say, don’t worry too much about going out and finding oils specifically for this. However, if you have some on hand and think you’d like to use them, do a test first. Dilute a drop or two of essential oil in ~1/2 tsp of a carrier oil (which is any “fatty” oil, like your jojoba, coconut, almond, olive, etc, etc… just use whatever you have). Then test that on your horse, first in a non-sensitive area, then if that’s fine, in the more irritated bits. If all goes well feel free to add it to the DIY recipe. FWIW lavender is definitely a skin-friendly oil and generally pretty well tolerated.

Lots of good ideas so far. My suggestion is, as much as possible, don’t wash the legs but allow them to dry and brush the mud off. It might take 30 mins or so. The infection is cause by moist conditions so why add to it? Particularly, if you use a shampoo remember they have a tendency to dry out the skin. Don’t use undiluted essential oils on broken skin: they can burn and blister. They are drugs like any other, even if they are “natural”. How do I know that…?

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Another simple and cheap barrier cream is Vaseline/petroleum jelly. Really, unless you are dealing with an infection, all you need to do is keep the water away from the skin, and vaseline does a good job of that.

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