Greasy Heel or Mud Fever
Coconut oil for Greasy Heel, Mud Fever or Cracked Heels in horses
What is greasy heel, mud fever or cracked heels in horses
Greasy heel is the result of a dermatitis or infection which is situated below the rear of the fetlock and the heel. Once this infection has moved up to the canon area it is referred to as Mud fever.
How do I know my horse has greasy heel, mud fever or cracked heels
This disease is most common in horses that are in an environment where their feet are constantly wet. This moisture rids the horse's skin of protective oils allowing bacteria to enter the softened/broken skin. The skin at the rear of the fetlock becomes soft, swollen and pink and oozes a sticky serum forming scabs. Once these scabs form the skin begins to crack open (cracked heels). The inflammation and infection is due to the same bacteria responsible for Rain Scald.
What influences greasy heel, mud fever or cracked heels in horses
Greasy heel is caused by a bacterial infection of the skin surrounding the heel. The way to prevent greasy heel is to make sure that your horse is free from an environment where their hooves are constantly wet. Keep hair around the fetlock dry and clean and clipped if the breed has feathers. Treating horses that have greasy heel means cleaning the affected area and removing the scabs to let oxygen into the wound to expose and kill any bacteria.
How diet helps greasy heel, mud fever or cracked heels in horses
There are many medicated shampoo's available to assist in the healing and disinfection. Coconut oil is reported as a natural alternative as due to the anti-microbial effects of the medium chain triglycerides (MCT's). Feeding an oil rich diet also aids the skin to prevent drying out.