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In mild forms, the condition is also known as “Scratches”, mud fever, mud rash or cracked heels. This can be an infectious or non-infectious disorder that results in inflammation, ulceration and/or crusting conditions affecting the pastern region of the horse. The affected skin may be thickened and painful and the horse may or may not be lame.


  1. One (1) Nolvasan* ointment, 7 ounces
  2. Three (3) Dexamethasone*, 4mg tablets, crushed to a powder
  3. One (1) Tube Desitin (Available without a prescription at most pharmacies)

Thoroughly mix ingredients and apply as directed to affected areas.


  • Clip hair, especially feathers, to avoid moisture retention.
  • Clean lesions and remove crusts with an antimicrobial shampoo.
  • Rinse affected areas very thoroughly and pat dry.
  • Apply “Scratches Remedy” daily to completely cover the affected areas.
  • Continue treatment until the “scratches” are completely healed.
  • Avoid pastures and paddocks with mud, water or dew.
  • Cover affected areas if a dry environment is not possible.
  • Oral NSAIDs (Phenylbutazone “Bute”*) may be needed to reduce pain and swelling.
  • If the condition worsens or does not resolve with the treatment regimen outlined above, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians. Particularly difficult cases may require systemic treatment with antibiotics and/or an immune system stimulant such as EqStim.  Nolvasan, Dexamethasone, Bute and EqStim are available from veterinarians or by prescription.